Recorded in several spellings including Hortan, Horten, Hortin, Horton, Hurtin, Hurton and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It is locational from any of the places called Horton said to be found in fourteen counties. The majority of the placenames share the same derivation and meaning and are mostly recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Hortune or Hortone, translating as "the settlement on muddy land", from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "horh", meaning mud, with "tun", a settlement or village. The place in Gloucestershire is recorded in the Domesday Book as "Horedone", and means "hill frequented by stags", from "heorta", a hart or stag, and "dun", a hill. Locational surnames, such as this, were usually those of the lord of the manor, or were given to former inhabitants who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Early examples include Richard de Horton in Northamptonshire in 1255, whilst John Hurton married Mary Crossley at the church of St Mary the Virgin, in the city of London on October 21st 1619, and Thomas Horton (1602 - 1649), a colonel in Fairfax's army during the English Civil War, was one of the fifty three regicides who signed Charles 1's death warrant in 1649. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Hortun. This was dated 1160, in Early Yorkshire Charters, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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