Researching the locational English surname Meaton or the even rarer Meeton, has had the interesting side result of discovering the surname Metton. This we thought may be the original surname spelling of Meaton/Meeton in England, and it remains a possibility. However there is no such place as Meaton or Meeton, although it is always possible that there was. Some five thousand British & Irish surnames are known to originate from now totally ''lost'' medieval villages, this may be one. Metton exists as a small hamlet of less than a hundred people, in the eastern county of Norfolk. This is also the area from which many early settlers left for New England in the 17th century. Metton and Meaton/Meeton in pre 7th century Olde English would have been maedd-tun meaning the ''meadow place'', describing an area of good grassland in the otherwise huge bog of Norfolk - in the days before drainage. Metton as a surname was recorded only once in Norfolk in the year 1574 when Anna Metton married Johannes Castolew, at the church of St Stephens, Norwich, the county town of Norfolk. Locational surnames were given to people after they left their original homes - often under compulsion. The majority went to London where their new neighbours would identify them by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being very erratic and local dialects very thick, lead to the development of ''sounds like'' forms. In London records we found listings of Meaton, Meeton, Meton, Metton, amongst Mittten, Mitton and Myton. The latter spellings are known to originate either from the village of Mitton on the border of counties Lancashire and Yorkshire, John de Mitton being a freeman of the city of York in the year 1223, or from Myton on Swale. Adam de Mytton appearing in the poll tax rolls for Yorkshire in 1379. On this basis we have at least three possible places of origin for Meaton/Meeton, plus the further possibility that they may derive from a ''lost'' medieval village. Perhaps a research based upon the family of Peter Meaton, whose son Joseph was christened at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London on November 28th 1716, may shed further light on the exact origin of this name.
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