This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places so called which have as their component elements the Olde English pre 7th Century "leac", leek, and "tun", enclosure, homestead; hence, "enclosure where leeks were grown, kitchen-garden". These places include Laughton in Leicestershire; in Lincolnshire (near Gounsborough); north east of Lewes (Sussex), and in the West Riding of Yorkshire. The above places were entered respectively as "Lachestone, Lactone, Lestun", and "Lastone" in the Domesday Book of 1086, however; Laughton near Folkingham in Lincolnshire, appearing as "Lohtun" circa 1067 in Wills Records of that county, and as "Loctone" in the Domesday Book, has as its initial element the Olde English "loc", enclosure; hence, "enclosed tun". Early examples of the surname include: Walter de Laughton (Leicestershire, 1327), and Thomas Laughton, noted in the Coroners Rolls of Nottinghamshire, dated 1541. A Coat of Arms granted to the Laughton family is a silver shield with three gold mullets on a black bend. The Mullet denoted Honour and Achievement in service of the state in ancient times, and the Bend signifies Protection. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Lactone, which was dated 1185, in the "Knights' Templars Records of Lincolnshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "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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