This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant of "Alton", a locational name from any of the various places so called. Those in Hampshire, Dorset and Wiltshire are at the sources of the river Wey, Piddle and Avon respectively, and derive their names from the Olde English "aewiell", a spring, source, and "tun", an enclosure, settlement. Alton in Derbyshire and Alton Grange in Leicestershire seem to have had as their first element the Olde English "(e)ald", old. Other examples derive from various Olde English personal names; Alton in Staffordshire was the settlement of "Aelfa", a short form of any of the various compound names with the first element "aelf", elf; and Alton in Wiltshire belonged to "Aella". The placename in Hampshire was recorded as "Aultone" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Early examples include John de Alton, in the Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire in 1216; Peter de Alton, in 1325, in the "Calendar of Inquisitions" (Nottinghamshire); and Thomas Alton, in the Coroners Rolls of Nottinghamshire in 1508. Anthony Aulton married Cicely Browne on July 28th 1583, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, in London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon de Altun, which was dated circa 1141, in the "Register of Antiquities", during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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