This uncommon surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, Corton may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and a locational name from any of the various places in England thus called including Corton, north of Lowestoft in Suffolk; Corton, north east of Calne (Wiltshire), and Corton or Cortington, a hamlet near Warminster in Wiltshire. The Suffolk place, recorded as "Karetune" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Corton" in the 1226 Feet of Fines, has as its component elements the Old Norse personal name "Kari, Kare", found as "Carig", on coins of Aethelred 11, and the Olde English pre 7th Century "tun", enclosure, settlement. The Wiltshire hamlet entered as "Cortitone" in the Domesday Book, and as "Cortun" in the "Register of St. Osmund", dated 1130, translates as "the settlement of Cort's people", from "tun" (as above), "ing", people of, and the personal byname "Cort", Short. The second possibility is that Corton is a variant of the Old French nickname "Courtin, a diminutive of "court", short, introduced into England in the 17th Century by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country. On October 14th 1553, Thomas Corton, an infant, was christened at Uffculme, Devonshire, and on October 17th 1630, Marguerite, daughter of Guillaume Courtin, was christened at the Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lawrence Cortayne, witness at a christening, which was dated May 14th 1548, Barnstable, Devonshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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