This interesting surname is of Anglo-Scottish origins. If English it is usually locational from any one of the various places called Orton but recorded in the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086 as Ovretone, Ovretune and Worton. All these share the same second element of the pre 7th century word "tun", meaning a farm or settlement, but the first element in each case is more difficult to determine. Examples of the place names in Cambridgeshire and Warwickshire are on the banks of rivers, so that there it is probably the Olde English word "ofer", meaning river; although in other cases it is impossible to decide between "ofer", meaning over, and "ufera", upper. Orton in Cumberland, probably has as its first element the Old Norse word "orri", meaning the black-cock, an early personal name. If Scottish it is also locational from Orton near Fochabers which derives from the Gaelic "or", meaning border, with "dun", a fort. The surname is first recorded in England the mid 11th century (see below), in Scotland in 1230 with Nicholas de Ortune of the Bridge of Spey, whilst other early examples include Henry de Orton in the registers known as the Feet of Fines of Oxfordshire in 1285, and Hugh Orton is listed in the Northamptonshire Death Registers of 1357. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Richard Orton and Elizabethe Kyet on September 14th 1539 at St. Martin Pomeroy, and the christening of Margery, daughter of John Orton, on December 6th 1553 at St. Michael Bassishaw. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a blue shield with a gold lion rampant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aethelweard de Ortun. This was dated 1051, in the "Old English Byname Register", during the reign of King Edward the Confessor, 1042 - 1066.
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