This ancient English surname is locational. It originates from any of the various places called Upton, in the counties of Cheshire, Devonshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Essex, and Worcestershire. The majority of the places are derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word "up" meaning "upper or above", and "tun", a farm or settlement. This may have been a reference to higher ground, and therefore perhaps a place used for summer grazing, or it may have been a status name for a more important farm or settlement. This is partially proven by the recording of Upton in the county of Essex. This place was recorded as Hupinton in the Fines Court rolls for that county in the year 1203, and is named from the phase "upp in tune" meaning that it was situated in the higher part of the settlement. The Worcestershire village of Upton is recorded as "aet Ubbantune" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, dated 957. This is probably from the Old English personal name Ubba, plus "tun", a settlement. Early examples of the surname recording include John de Upton in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire, in 1272, whilst in Ireland the nameholders generally descend from Henry Upton of Devonshire. He served in Ireland under the earl of Essex in 1598, and was subsequently granted lands there. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ethestan on Optune, which was dated 972 - "The Old English Byname Register", for Northamptonshire, during the reign of King Edgar, "The Saxon", 959 - 975.
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