This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places throughout the midland counties of England thus called, for example in Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire, Worcestershire, Herefordshire, Shropshire and Warwickshire. Recorded variously as "Hantune", "Hantone", "Hamntone" and "Hantun" n the Domesday Book of 1086 for the above counties, all the places share the final Olde English pre 7th Century element "tun", enclosure, settlement but the first is variously the Olde English "ham", homestead, "hamm", water meadow, or "hean" from "hea", high. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. This surname first appears on record in the mid 12th Century (see below), and other early examples include; Edith de Hampton', (Worcestershire 1221), and Richard Hampton, (Sussex, 1327). In June 1635 John Hampton, aged 30 yrs, embarked from London on the ship "Thomas and John" bound for Virginia. He was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in the New World. No less that fifteen Coats of Arms have been granted to this illustrious family, one of the earliest being red, on a silver fess two black mullets. The mullet denoted Honour and Achievement in service of the state in ancient times. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip de Hamtone, which was dated 1166, in the "Cartulary of Oseney Abbey", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 11, The Builder of Churches, 1154-1189. 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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