This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Dufton, a parish and village north east of Appleby in Westmorland, or from Dufftown in Banffshire, Scotland. Recorded as "Dufton" in the "Inquisitions post mortem", dated 1289, the Westmorland place has as its component elements the Middle English "duve, douve, dofe", dove (ultimately from the Old Norse "dufa"), with the Olde English "tun", enclosure, settlement; hence "settlement frequented by doves". The initial element of the Scottish place may be the British (pre-Roman) "dubo", black, dark, reflected in the Gaelic "dubh", black, with "tun" (as above).Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those former inhabitants who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. On January 3rd 1569, Richard, son of Lancelot and Isabel Dufton, was christened in Cliburn, Westmorland, and in 1798, John Dufton, noted in a "History of the volunteer movement in Strathbogie", was a member of the Gartly Company of Volunteers. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Dufton, which was dated December 8th 1540, witness at the christening of his son, John, at Lowther, Westmorland, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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