This interesting name has two possible origins, the first of which is English (Anglo-Saxon) and is a locational surname deriving from the places in Lincolnshire called Great and Little Ponton. The placename means 'Pampi's settlement', from the Old Norse byname 'Pampi', meaning 'short, stout', and used also in Old English to mean a hillock or mound, with 'tun', Old English for a settlement, enclosure. The places are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Magna and Parva Pantone'. The William de Ponton recorded below was from Lincolnshire, and was sent to Ireland by Edward 1 in 1306 - 1307 to prepare an expedition from Ireland against Robert the Bruce. The second possible origin for the modern surname 'Ponton' is the Anglo-Norman French topographical name 'Pont', for someone who lived by a bridge, from 'pont', bridge. 'Ponton' is a diminutive form of the name. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wilielmus de Ponton of Ayr, which was dated 1305 - 1306, Documents relating to Scotland in the Public Record Office, during the reign of Interregnum in Scotland, Edward 1 of England, 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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