This name is of English locational origin from Bishop's Tawton or North and South Tawton in Devonshire. The Former, recorded as Tautona in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Tautone Episcopi in the 1304 Episcopal Registers of that county, once belonged to the Bishop of Exeter. The first element, in all cases, is the river name, Taw, from the Welsh 'taw' meaning 'silent', plus the Olde English pre 7th Century 'tun', a farm or settlement, hence, 'settlement on the river Taw'. The surname from this source is well recorded in Devonshire church registers from the mid 16th Century, (see below). On January 31st 1542 Brigida, daughter of John Tawton, was christened in Iddesleigh. One of the earliest recordings of the name in London was the marriage of Philip Tawton and Alice Leeke in St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tawton, son of Johia Tawton, which was dated 3rd April 1540, christened in Iddesleigh, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry VIII, Bluff King Hal, 1509 - 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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