Recorded in several spelling forms including: Tawn, Tawne, Toun, Town, Towne, Towns, Townes and Towner, the latter meaning precisely 'one of the town', this interesting surname is of English origins. It is a topographical name 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" meaning a large settlement, 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 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 Priscilla Toon, the daughter of George Toon, christened at Christchurch, Greyfriars, city of London, on March 12th 1693. 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 ll,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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