This famous name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the numerous places called Burton in England, found mainly in the midland and northern counties. Most of the places are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as, variously, "Burtone, Bortune" or "Bortone", and most share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the settlement by a fort", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "burg, burh", fort, often referring to a Roman or other pre-English fort, sometimes a fortified manor, with "tun", enclosure, settlement.Some of the places mean "settlement belonging to a fort", from the same Olde English elements, while Burton in Somerset means "the settlement on the River Bredy" or "Bride", and Burton in Sussex translates as "Budeca's settlement". The surname was first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), and one Gerard de Burton was recorded in the 1178 Warwickshire Pipe Rolls. The modern surname can be found as Burton, Borton and Bourton. 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, which was dated circa 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 known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling. 2
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