This intriguing and uncommon surname, found principally in the south-eastern counties of England, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in the Brighton/Crawley areas of Sussex. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 14th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the enforced clearing of lands and dispersal of the inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures under the Enclosure Acts of the 15th Century on. The placename is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "up, upp(e)", up, above, with "tote(rn)", look-out house, watch-tower; it is quite possible that the original place was on the Sussex coast, and featured a watch-tower to warn of invaders from across the English Channel. Examples of the surname, in modern forms ranging from Aptott, Aptote and Aptat, to Aptett, Apted and Aptid, include: the marriage of John Aptyd and Jone Smyth at Poynings, Sussex, on June 19th 1582; and the marriage of Thomas Apted and Catherin Jones on October 10th 1637, at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Apted, which was dated January 6th 1563, witness to the christening of his daughter, Elizabeth, in Brighton, Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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