Recorded in a number of spellings including Tawn, Tawne, Tonn, Tonne, Toun, Town, Towne, Towns, Townes and Towner, the latter meaning "one of the town", this interesting surname is of early English origins. It is a topographical for someone who lived in the centre of a large village or main settlement, as opposed to an outlying farm (thorp). The derivation is from the pre 7th century word "tun" through the later medieval "tune". The surname is late 11th Century, (see below), and therefore one of the very first ever recorded. Early examples of these recordings include: Peter de la Tune in Sir Christopher Hatton's "Book of Seals" for the county of Surrey in the year 1219, and John de la Tone in the Hundred Rolls of the landowners of Suffolk in 1275. Later recordings include Richard Towne who was christened at St. Leonards church, Eastcheap, city of London, on October 9th 1544, George Tawn who married Marie Shorte at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on January 25th 1595, and Henry Tonn of Helston in Cornwall, who according to the Wills record for the county died there in 1644. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wistric Optun. This was dated 1095, in the Feudal Documents of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King William llnd,1087 - 1100. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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