This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any one of the places called Ellerton; in Shropshire, recorded as "Athelarton" circa 1250 in "Antiquities of Shropshire"; and in Yorkshire, recorded as "Elreton, Alreton" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The former place in Shropshire is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Aethelheard", noble-brave", and "tun", settlement; hence "Aethelheard's settlement". The latter places are composed of either the Old Norse "elri" or Olde English "alor", both meaning "alder" and "tun", as above; hence "the settlement by the alder trees". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification. The surname itself first appears in the early 13th Century (see below), while one Roger Ethelartone appears in the Chartulary of Routon Abbey (Staffordshire) in 1307. William Elderton (died 1592) was a ballad-writer, and the opening of one of his ballads is quoted in "Much Ado About Nothing". A Coat of Arms, depicting three silver water bougets on a black shield, was granted to an Elderton family. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Elreton, which was dated 1204, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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