This is a famous surname of Old English pre 9th Century antecedents. Equally prolific in Military, artistic, ecclesisatical and political circles, "Leighton" provides a striking example of how apparently humble origins, are no ultimate bar to success. The name derives from "Leac" meaning "Leek" and "Tun" a farmstead, and is habitational for one who lived or watched at a leek farm. There are a number of such places throughout England and Scotland, the "modern" spellings being Leighton, Leyton, Laytoun and Layton. From medieval times the name holders made their mark, Richard Leighton being knighted by King Edward 11 in 1313, whilst in 1330 Randolph de Leighton was similarly rewarded by Edward 111. Other early recordings include Roger de Leyton in the 1276 Hundred Rolls of Huntingdon, and William de Leghton who appears in the Cheshire Rolls of 1287. Sir Elisha Leighton was a colonel in the Kings Army (1640-1651) and later Recorder of Dublin (1672). The name was early into Scotland, Henry Leighton being Bishop of Aberdeen in 1440. Frederick Leighton RA was the first Baron Leighton of Stretton, (1830-1896). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Lecton, which was dated 1201, in the "County Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland" 1199 - 1216. 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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