Recorded as Claughton, Cloughton, Clowton, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational from a village called Cloughton near the town of Scarborough on the east coast of the county of Yorkshire. First recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Cloctune', the name translates as 'The farm in the valley' from the pre 7th century words 'cloh-tuna'. Locational surnames of this type were usually given either to the local lord of the manor, and his descendants or to former inhabitants of the village who had moved elsewhere.The easiest way to identify such 'strangers' was to call him or sometimes her. by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling over the centuries being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, often lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings, although not obviously so here. It is unclear as to when the surname was first publically recorded, but examples in the early surviving church registers of the county of Yorkshire itself include Margaret Clugton of Batley, on October 20th 1583 when she married one John Ellis, William Clowton who married Frances Crosland, at Lower Headrow in the city of Leeds, on October 18th 1669, and Mary Cloughton, who married Charles Ainley, at Skelbrooke in Yorkshire, on May 26th 1782.
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