Four miles east of Stokesley in North Yorkshire lies the tiny hamlet of Goulton, the place of origin of those people who today carry the name as Goulton, Golton, or the very rare, Gowlton. The name is quite uncommon in any spelling form, although found in some strength in the village church records of Ingleby Greenhow and the town records of Whitby. It appears that in Elizabethan times the village of Goulton was "cleared" under the Agricultural Enclosure Acts, and the inhabitants dispossessed. These unfortunate people then took the name of their former home as their surname.There is some disagreement over the original meaning of the name, however, logic suggests that the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "golde", meaning marigold, plus "ton", a farm or hamlet, although it is possible that the suffix refers to a personal name, "Golda". Early recordings include those of Edward Golton, the son of Christopher, born at Husthwaite, near York, on September 3rd 1648, whilst on June 2nd 1675, Samuelis Golton (also recorded as Goulton) was a witness at the christening of his son, Thomas, at Whitby Parish Church. A Coat of Arms has been granted to Golton; this being a gold field, two black bars, with in chief three fleur-de-lis, also black. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Goultone, which was dated May 3rd 1600, marriage to Barbaria Thornetone, at Coxwold, North Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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