This is a locational surname, which derives from the village of Colaton Raleigh in the English county of Devon. All the early surname recordings are found in this area. The village of 'Coletune' is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book, its change of spelling to Colaton Raleigh occurring in or about the year 1242 when the manor of Colaton was held by Wimundus de Ralegh. The name translates as 'the tun (settlement) of Koli', the latter being a personal name of probably pre 8th century Viking origins. The surname is recorded in an extraordinary variety of spellings, even by the educational standards of 16th & 17th century Devon. These include Colleton, Collaton, Colaton, Collelton, Culleton, Colten, Coltan, Colton, Coulton, and many others. It is arguable that the latter four examples may derive from the village of Colton, originally 'Coultone' in neighbouring Somerset. Examples of the name recordings taken from the church registers of Devon include Johan Coltynge who married John Soverayne at Colyton on September 12th 1583, Hugh Colleton, a witness at Dittisham church on April 20th 1614, and Richard Collaton, christened at Little Hempston church on June 25th 1695. The coat of arms granted in Devon in 1660 has the blazon of a gold field charged with three stags heads couped, and the crest of a stags head, all proper. The stag is the sign, not of a hunter, but a fleet footed messenger, and the date of 1660 would imply a connection with the restoration of King Charles 11 in that year. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johan Collton, which was dated June 13th 1569, who married Chrystover Mathew at Totnes, Devon, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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