This ancient name, is of English locational origin from any of the several places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "north" meaning north, plus "tun", a farm or settlement; hence, "north tun" i.e. a homestead or village north of another. These places include Norton in Hampshire, recorded as "Nortone" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 903; Norton (Staffordshire), entered as "aet Northtune" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle (951), and Norton in Cheshire, Durham, Somerset etc., written as "Nortune" in the Domesday Book of 1086 for those counties.The surname first appears on record in the late 11th Century. Other early recordings include: Leofwin de Norton (Lincolnshire, 1177), and Ralph de Norton (Yorkshire, 1273). Among the several interesting namebearers mentioned in the "Dictionary of National Biography" are Sir John Norton (deceased 1534), knight of the body to Henry V111, and Caroline Norton (1808 - 1877), afterwards Lady Stirling-Maxwell, a poetess, distinguished for her beauty and wit. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Osuuardus de Nordtone, which was dated 1086, in the "Domesday Book of Kent", during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1272 - 1307. 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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