This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the numerous places called Murton in, for example, Durham, Northumberland, Westmorland and the North Riding of Yorkshire. The places are recorded respectively as "Mortun" in the Book of Fees of Durham Priory (1155), "Morton" in the 1204 Charter Rolls, "Morton" in the 1288 Feet of Fines, and "Mortun(e)" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and all share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the settlement by the fen, or moor", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mor" meaning marsh, fen, moor, with "tun" a settlement or enclosure. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). William Murtone is noted in Court Rolls of the Borough of Colchester (1375). On September 10th 1539, Alice Murton and Ralph Barnard were married at the Church of St. Nicholas Acons, London, and Richarde, son of John Murton, was christened on May 15th 1580 at the church of St. James, Garlickhithe, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Murton, which was dated 1221, witness, in the "Assize Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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