This unusually interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has a number of separate sources. Firstly, and most simply, it can be a topographical name for someone who lived to the north of a main settlement, derived from the Olde English "north in tune", north in the village, the last element, "tun(e)", meaning a settlement, enclosure, village. Secondly, it may be a locational surname from the place called Norrington near Alvediston, in Wiltshire, which is recorded in 1212 as "Northintone"; from Norrington End Farm in Redbourn, Hertfordshire; or from Northingtown Farm in Grimley, Worcestershire, recorded as "Norinton" in 1275.Finally, the surname Norrington, also found as Nor(th)ington, may be from a dialectal pronunciation of the placename Northampton, recorded as "Northantone" in the Domesday Book of 1086. There are many recorded examples of this "change", particularly in Wiltshire, Essex and Kent; for instance, William Northampton of Salisbury, an innkeeper, was married in 1595 in that name, received a licence in 1614 as William Norrington, and died in 1616 as William Norington. One John Noryngton is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Kent in 1523, and in London, the christening of John, son of Henry Norrington, was entered in the Register of St. Mary's, Whitechapel, Stepney, on November 16th 1596. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Norinton, which was dated 1275, recorded as living at Northingtown Farm, Worcestershire, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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