This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is of locational derivation, from places so called near Birkenhead, Cheshire, recorded as "Oxtone" in 1275 in the "Calendar of Inquisitiones Post Mortem"; near Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, which appeared as "Oxetune" in the Domesday Book of 1086; and on the river Wharfe, Yorkshire, appearing as "Oxetone" in the Domesday Book. The placenames share the same derivation, that is, from the Olde English "oxa", ox, and "-tun", settlement; hence, "the farm where oxen were kept". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Early examples of the surname include: Alexander de Ockeston, who appears in the Hundred Rolls of Devonshire in 1273; Johannes de Oxton, recorded in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire in 1379; and Thomas Oxton, who married Ann Rutlish in 1663, in Canterbury, Kent. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name in Devonshire depicts on a barry of six, silver and gold, a red saltire and red border engrailed. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Okeston, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Devonshire", 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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