This unusual surname is of combined Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from either of two places thus called. The one in Norfolk, recorded as "Gunetune" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Gonetone" in 1166, has as its component elements the Old Norse personal name "Gunnr" or "Gunne" from "gunn", battle, with the Olde English "tun", enclosure, settlement. The other, situated north of Lowestoft in Suffolk, appearing as "Guneton" in the 1198 Feet of Fines for that county, shares the ame meaning and derivation. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially to those former inhabitants who left their place of origin to settle in another area, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Early examples of the surname include: Matthew de Gunton, and Isabel his wife, who "had a release for 20 s. per annum of their portion of titles in Castre", and John de Gunton, vicar of Tunstal, Norfolk, in 1361. On November 20th 1541, Margery Gunton and Jhon Pouton were married at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. A notable bearer of the name was Simon Gunton (1609 - 1676), M.A. Magdalene College, Cambridge, 1634, and vicar of Peterborough, Northamptonshire, 1660 - 1666. The history of Peterborough Cathedral compiled from his writings was issued in 1686. A Coat of Arms granted to the Gunton family is a red shield with three gold round buckles. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Bartholomew de Guneton, which was dated 1195, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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