This interesting surname, with variant spellings Shilton and Skelton is found widespread in the county of Nottinghamshire. The name itself is of English habitational origin from any of the places so called in Nottinghamshire, Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Shropshire and Staffordshire. The first of these was recorded "Sceltun", in the Domesday Book of 1086, while this source also records the other place names "Eseltone", "Sceltuna", "Saltone", and "Scelfitone", respectively. The place name is composed of the elements "scylf", the Old English word for shelf, ledge, or bank and "tun", the Old English word describing a settlement or enclosure. One John de Schelton appeared in 1260 in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire, while the Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire record a John Shelton in 1385. Notable namebearers include one Thomas Shelton (died 1620) who was the first translator of "Don Quixote" into English and one Sir Richard Shelton (died 1647) employed by the Duke of Buckingham and appointed solicitor-general (1625-1634) becoming M.P. for Bridgnorth (1626-1628) and treasurer of the Inner Temple in 1628. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Schelton, which was dated 1191, in the Pipe Rolls of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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