This very interesting surname, recorded as Atherton and Eatherton, is of 7th century Olde English and Anglo-Saxon origins. It is locational from a place so called in Lancashire. The earliest recording of this placename is found in the Fees Rolls of that county for the year1212, when it is spelt as "Aderton", and then later in the Post Mortem Records of 1322 as "Atherton". The name is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Aethelhere", of uncertain etymology, and "tun", a settlement, town; hence, "Aethelhere's town". During the Middle Ages, when it became common for people to migrate from their place of birth to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt or be given the village name as a means of identification. This resulted in a wide dispersal of the name. Early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic church registers include Roger Atherton, who married Elizabeth Stringfellowe, on September 22nd 1599, at Farnworth North, Prescot, Lancashire and Charlotte Eatherton, the daughter of John Eatherton, who was christened at Holborn Hospital, London, on March 22nd 1787. Amongst the interesting recordings associated with this surname is that of William Atherton, an early settler in the New World. He is reported as being granted a ticket to sail from the Barbadoes to Boston, New England, in October 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Athertone, which was dated 1332, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377.
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