This interesting and unusual name, with variant spellings Cleaton, Clayton, Cleton etc. is of English locational origin from either "Cleeton", in Shropshire or "Clayton", the name of places in Lancashire, Staffordshire, Sussex and Yorkshire. The former place was recorded "Cleoton" in 1241, in the Feet of Fines Records and "Cletone" in the Hundred Rolls of 1255, while "Clayton" in Lancashire near Manchester was recorded "Cleyton", circa 1250, in the Lancashire Inquests. All these placenames derive from the same Old English pre seventh Century words "cloeg", clay and "tun", meaning settlement, homestead. Hence the settlement on the clayey soil. The London church registers record the following entries: Edward Cleyton married Katheryne Sherland at St. Dunstan, Stepney on December 16th 1571: Edward Cleaton was christened at Harrow on the Hill on June 4th 1591. Mary Cleeton was christened at Childs Ercall, in Shropshire on May 16th 1595. Sir Robert Cleton (1629-1707) became Alderman of London from 1670-1688, and Sheriff in 1681. He was knighted in 1671, and was Lord Mayor of London from 1679-1680. He advocated the Exclusion Bill and was benefactor of St. Thomas's Hospital and Christ's Hospital. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jordan de Claiton, which was dated 1191, Yorkshire Charter Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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