Recorded as Darton, Dartan, Dairton, Darten and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational from Darton, a village on the River Dearne near Barnsley in South Yorkshire. Recorded as Dertun in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as Dertona in the records known as the Early Yorkshire Charters in 1199, Darton was named from the pre 7th century "deor- tun" or "Deers enclosure" presumably a formidable fence and ditch usually to keep deer in, but sometimes the opposite. Such locational names were originally given to the Lord of the Manor, or as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of recordings taken from surviving church registers include Elizabeth Darton and Nicholas Hale who were married at St. Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London on December 7th 1599, and on February 18th 1656, Mathew Dartan was christened at St. Botolph's Bishopsgate, also city of London. Nicholas Darton, (1603-1649), was an early religious author and vicar of Kilsby in Northamptonshire. He wrote a book called "The True and Absolute Bishop" in 1641, which no doubt contributed to the English Civil War, that was just about to start (1642). Another early recording is that of John Dairton, and dated February 4th 1595, at Kendal in Westmorland. This was 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 sometimes 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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