Recorded in the modern spellings of Gayton and Geyton, this surname is English. It is of locational origin from any of the several places called Gayton or formerly Geyton in Cheshire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Staffordshire, and Northamptonshire. Recorded variously as Gaitone, Gettone, Geytone, and Gaituna in the Domesday Book of 1086 for the above counties, the place name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "gata" meaning "goat", plus "tun", a farm, hence 'Goat farm'. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below), and other place examples include Gatton in Surrey, recorded as Gatatun in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 871, and the infamous aairport of Gatwick 'the goat place'. Early examples of the surname recording include: Edmund Gayton (1608 - 1666), M.A. St. John's College, Oxford, was adopted as a son by Ben Jonson. He published amongst other works, "Notes on Don Quixote", 1654. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Gayton, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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