This is a locational surname, also recorded in the spellings Notton, Noton, Nutton, etc, which could be said to have both Olde English and Norse Viking antecents. It derives from a place called Knutton in Staffordshire or from the villages of Notton in Yorkshire and Dorset. All have the same basic meaning of 'Cnuts place'. The word 'Cnut' can be a personal name, but it could also describe a place where 'nuts', specifically beech and hazel nuts were intensively farmed. It seems however that by a process of dialectal transposition the Yorkshire and Dorset villages had by the 16th century developed 'new' meanings of 'the cattle farm' and 'the sheep farm' respectively. The earliest known records relate to the Staffordshire site and include 'Clotone' in the 1086 Domesday Book, 'Cnoton' in the 1212 Court registers, 'Cnutton' in the same lists of 1227 and Knotton in 1256. It is therefore easy to easy how the surname itself developed variant spellings. Early recordings include Elizabeth Nutton, christened at Bull Lane Independent Church, Stepney, on October 25th 1674, Mary Nuton, daughter of William and Elizabeth Nuton, at Stoke on Trent on Christmas Day 1733, and Elizabeth Nutten, who married Joseph Cockbain at the famous church of St Clement Danes, London, on August 25th 1756. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Notton, which was dated 1379, in the poll tax rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, known as 'Richard of Bordeaux' 1377 - 1399. 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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