Recorded as Bourton, Burton, Berton, Bierton, and Borton, this is a famous English surname of Anglo-Saxon origins. It is locational originating from any one of the numerous places called Bourton or Burton in England, found mainly in the midland and northern counties. Most of the places are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Burtone, Bortune, or Bortone. The village of Bierton in Berkshire, the source of at least some surnames, was recorded as Burton in 1247, and changed its spelling in the 15th century. Most Burton's share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the settlement by a fort", drom the Olde English pre 7th century "burg or burh", meaning fort, and often referring to a Roman or other pre-English fortified manor, with "-tun", a settlement. The village of Burton in Somerset means the settlement on the River Bredy, and Burton in Sussex translates as "Budeca's settlement". The surname was first recorded in the 12th century (see below), Gerard de Burton being recorded in the Warwickshire Pipe Rolls in 1178. Richard Burton (1821 - 1890), the explorer and orientalist, was a member of an ancient family, holding lands in Shropshire since the 15th Century. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ioluard in Burhtun. This was dated 1150, in the Yorkshire Charters, 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 sometimes known as the 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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