Recorded as Wharlton, Wharleton, Warlton and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational and apparently originates from a now 'lost' place, probably in the north of the country. The surnames list of the British Isles has over three thousand surnames which originate from 'lost medieval villages', and this would seem to be another. As to why so many places have (usually) completely disappeared from the maps and gazetters over the past five centuries can be put down to a variety of causes. These include urbanisation, where the towns and cities have swallowed up their neighbouring villages, a process which continues, the draining of the marshlands particularly in East Anglia, the enclosure of the common lands which happened everywhere, as well as coastal erosion which also still continues, and sometimes plague. Whatever the reason, people left their former homes and thereafter were identified by being called after these places, large or small. A village which is close in spelling and meaning is Warlaby in North Yorjkshire. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Places Names the derivation is from the pre 7th century Olde English 'waerlau-byr' literally translating as the farm (-by) of the traitor! From this we deduce that Warlton or Wharlton is fram 'waerlau-ton' meaning the settlement of the traitor. However after nearly fifteen hundred years of history, other explanations may be possible. Early examples of recordings taken from the surviving registers of the city of London include Denys Warleton at St Margarets Westminster, on January 30th 1547, and John Wharlton, a christening witness at St Lukes Finsbury, on November 21st 1764 in the reign of King George 111rd, 1760 - 1820.
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