This very interesting surname has nothing whatsoever to do with either flying or lightning! Recorded in the variant forms of Lightwing and Lightning, it is of Olde English pre 7th century locational origins, and is from a range of dialectal spellings which originally derive from the various places called Layton, Leighton and Leyton. In this case the development is from Laitun in the 13th century to Lighten in the 15th and to Lightwing/Lightning in the 17th century. The village names include Layton, east of Blackpool in Lancashire, recorded as 'Latun' in the Domesday Book of 1086, and East and West Layton in the North Riding of Yorkshire, Leyton in Essex etc. The former place was so called from the Old English pre 7th Century "lad", a water-course or conduit, plus "tun", a settlement, homestead, or in medieval times - a town. The latter three places, recorded as 'Lastun' in the Domesday Book, and as 'Laton' in the 1199 Pipe Rolls derive their name from the Old English "leac", meaning vegetables or leeks, plus "tun", which in this instance must describe a farm or small holding. The places called 'Leighton' in Bedfordshire, Shropshire Lancashire etc., are also derived from the Old English "leac-tun" and the surnames also derive from these places. Early examples of the surname recording include Richard de Layton in the 1292 "Pipe Rolls of Cumberland", whilst Richard Layton became dean of York in 1534. Later recordings include Jane Lighting at St Pauls Church, Covent Garden, on June 30th 1698, Margaret Lightwing, who married John Steward, at St Dunstans in the East, on September 11th in the same year, and George Lightwing, a witness at St James Clerkenwell, on March 9th 1712. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Lecton, which was dated 1201, in the Pipe Rolls of Shropshire, 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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