This very interesting name recorded as Saxton, Sexton, Sexen,and Saxon, is generally English, but sometimes is Irish. It has at least three possible origins. The first and most likely is locational from one of the villages called Saxton, found in Yorkshire, Cambridge, and Surrey. Saxton in the West Riding of Yorkshire was the site of the battle of Towton, during the famous Wars of the Roses from 1422 to 1485. In all cases the village name and hence the surname translates as "the settlement (tun) of the Saxons".An example from this source of the early recordings is that of Johannes de Saxton, in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls for the city of York. The second possibility is that for some nameholders at least, their ancestors held the position of sexton or church warden. This derives from the Middle English "sexteyn", a derivative of the Old French "secrestein", introduced by the Normas after the 1066 invasion. An early recording from that source is that of William Sextain, in the Subsidy Rolls for the county of Sussex in 1327. The third possible origin is the anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish "O'Seastnain", meaning the "descendant of Seastnan", a personal name meaning "bodyguard" from "seasuighim", to defend. In the spelling of Sexton the name is mainly found in Limerick city where no less than eight Sextons have been mayors, although several were of English protestant origin. The first recording of the surname is shown to be that of Tomas Sekerstein, which was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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