This surname, of English and Scottish origin, is a locational name from any of the various places, notably Smeaton near Edinburgh and in North and West Yorkshire, or Smeeton in Leicestershire, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "smioa", meaning "smiths", plus "tun", settlement; hence, "settlement of the smiths". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The name dates back to the late 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Henricus de Smeithtone, juror on an inquisition at Muskylburg, Edinburgh, in 1359, and John Smeton, recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire. In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Smeeton, Smeaton, Smieton, Smetoun and Smittoune. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of William Smeyton and Agnes Newton on August 31st 1550, at St. Matthew's, Friday Street, and the christening of William, son of Thomas and Joan Smeeton, on December 29th 1653, at St. Margaret's, Westminster. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was John Smeaton (1724 - 1792), a civil engineer who constructed Eddystone Lighthouse in 1756, and who founded the Smeatonian Club in 1771. The family Coat of Arms is on a gold shield a red lion's head erased between three green papingoes. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Smithetone, which was dated 1296, recorded in the County of Edinburgh, Scotland, during the reign of King Robert "The Bruce" of Scotland, 1225 - 1329. 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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