This is a locational surname which probably derives from the village of Shorton, near Paignton, in Devon. The name means or meant originally in pre Norman times, that is before the 1066 Invasion of William The Conqueror, the 'tun' (farm) on the shore, which seems a particularly accurate description. What is certain is that in its various spellings of Shorton, Shorten, Shortin and Chorton, the name is well recorded both in its home county and particularly, London, after the first quarter of the 17th century. Locational surnames were usually given to people after they left their home village and settled elsewhere. 'Elsewhere' could be a mile away in the next hamlet, and this seems to have been the case with this surname in Devon. Early examples taken from the church registers include George Shorten, christened at Little Hempston, Devon, on March 27th 1554, and Margery Shorton of Dartington, on February 1st 1575. Alice Shortin married one Michael Olf at St Dunstans in the east, Stepney, on October 17th 1634, Ann Shorten was christened at St Saviour, Southwark, on October 20th 1741, and Dulsina Shorton married Charles Chalmondley at St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on January 24th 1736. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Shortan, which was dated May 11th 1539, christened at Stoke in Teignhead, Devon, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as 'Bluff King Hal', 1510 - 1547. 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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