This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from three places so called, one in the East Riding of Yorkshire, one in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and one in Norfolk. The placenames are derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "Cnapa", boy, servant, and "tun", enclosure, settlement; the first element may have been used as a personal name, hence, "Cnapa's settlement". The place in both the West Riding of Yorkshire and the East Riding of Yorkshire were first recorded as "Cnapetone" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and the place in Norfolk was first recorded as Knapatone, also in the Domesday Book. The surname development since 1273 (see below) includes: Adam de Knapeton (1292, Norwich), Thomas Knapton (1379, Yorkshire) and Bartholomew Napton (1790, Oxford). The modern surname can Knapton, Knapeton and Napton. The marriages were recorded in Yorkshire of Edward Knapton and Helen Walker on July 30th 1596 at Cowthorpe, and of Francis Knapton and Frances Garrett on May 19th 1663 at Bramham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Estrilda de Knapeton, which was dated 1273, The Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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