This most interesting and unusual name is of English locational origin from the places "Picton" a parish and hamlet near Chester in Cheshire and a parish near Yarm in Yorkshire. The placename is composed of the Old English pre 7th Century elements "pic", meaning point or peak a common placename element, and "tun", an enclosure or settlement, which is also found in many placenames. In 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, hence placenames became a main influence in surname formation. The earliest recording of the surname in London church registers is on August 21st 1587, when Robart Pyckton married Elizabeth Burton at St. Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey. An illustrious namebearer was one Sir Thomas Picton (1758-1818) who was promoted to the rank of lieutenant-general, having being part of the Civil Government of Trinidad. He died while leading his brigade in the charge at Waterloo and a monument was erected to him at St. Paul's Cathedral, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Picton, Canon of St. Davids, which was dated 1399, in the "History and Antiquities of St. Davids", 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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