This notable surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Gorton, a former parish in the borough, and south east of, the city of Manchester in Lancashire. Recorded as "Gorton" in the "Inquisitiones post mortem", dated 1282, the component elements of the placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century "gor", dirt, and "tun", enclosure, settlement. Gore Brook, containing the same initial elements, runs though the township, and it is likely that both the settlement and brook were named from the murky aters of the latter. 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 who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On October 20th 1563, John, son of Richard Gorton, was christened at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and on March 17th 1571, Jhon Gorton was christened in Kirkburton, Yorkshire. Early namebearers to settle in America were Steven Gorton, aged 35 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Safety" bound for Virginia, in August 1635, and Samuel Gorton, of Gorton, Lancashire, who went to New England in 1636, and subsequently lived at Boston and New Plymouth. A Coat of Arms granted to the Gorton family is a red shield with ten gold billets and a chief indented of the last, the Crest being a silver goat's head erased, ducally gorged gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gorton, which was dated March 18th 1563, christened at Brindle, Lancashire, 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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