Recorded as Motton, Mouton, Mutton and Mitton, this is an Anglo-French surname, but with at least two distinct origins. Firstly, it may be of pre 10th century Old French origin, and an occupational name for a shepherd. The derivation being from the word "mouton", meaning sheep. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and only later became hereditary when a son followed his father into the same job or profession. The surname from this source first appears in the late 12th century with examples including: Robert Mouton of Leicestershire, in 1219, and William Moton of Sussex, in 1327. The second possible origin is Anglo-Saxon, and a locational name from residence at any of the various places named from the words "gemyth-tun", translating as the settlement (tun) at the junction of two streams. These places include: Little Mitton in Lancashire, recorded as "Little Mutton" in 1283; Upper and Lower Mitton, Worcestershire; Great Mitton, Yorkshire; and Myton in Warwickshire, Shropshire, and the North Riding of Yorkshire. Early recordings from this source include: William de Mutton of Staffordshire, in the year 1287, and Robert de Mutone of Somerset, in 1327). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen Muton. This was dated 1195, in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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