Recorded in many forms including Tawn, Tawne, Toon, Toone, Toones, Town, Towns, Townes, Towner, the latter meaning 'of the town', and the tautological Towen and Towens, this interesting surname is of English origin. It is a topographical name for someone who lived in a 'Ton', the centre of a large village or settlement, as opposed to a Viking outlying village which was often described as a throp or thorp. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century word "tun" meaning "settlement", through the later 'tune' to the medieval word of 'town'. The surname is late 11th Century, (see below), and perhaps not surprisingly one of the very first ever recorded. Early examples of the 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 from the surving registers of the city of London include those of Richard Towne, christened at St. Leonards church, Eastcheap, on October 9th 1544, John Towen christened at St Mary Magdalen, on May 14th 1607, and Priscilla Toon christened at Christ Church Greyfriars, 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" from 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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