This most interesting and curious surname was originally widely recorded in the county of Cheshire. It has two possible origins. Firstly, it may be Olde English, deriving from the pre 7th Century personal name 'Acca', itself from "ac", meaning 'oak', plus the patronymic suffix 'son', hence 'Acca-son'. Secondly, the name may be of locational or topographical origin, from the river Axe in Devon, which in the year 693 a.d. was recorded as 'Axam or Axan'. There is also a locality on the Axe known as 'Axtoon', which may have provided nameholders as may the village of Axton, in the former Welsh border county of Flintshire.The placenames are composed of the elements 'aesca', meaning ash(trees), and 'tun', a village or settlement. During the unsettled period of the late Middle Ages, cause by the 'War of the Roses' and the various plagues, migration for the purpose of job-seeking was quite common. People often used their former village name as a means of identification, and a combination of wide dispersal and poor spelling created a number of variant forms. In this case early examples of the surname include Thomas Acson of Cheshire, in 1561, Laurence Axton, also recorded as Axon, also of Cheshire in the same year, and Thomas Axon of Ashton-under-Lyne, Cheshire, christened there in 1635. John Ackson, of Leftwich, Northwich, is recorded as being 'a yeoman'in 1635. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name depicts an ermine fesse on a red shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Axton, which was dated 1524, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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