This interesting surname, found recorded in both England and Scotland, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational, being a a dialectal variant of a number of various places called Whitton, such as Whitton in Durham, Northumberland, Shropshire, Suffolk and South West London. The first element of the placenames is the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Hwita", which means "white", and "tun", an enclosure or settlement; hence, "Hwita's settlement". The Scottish Whitton derives its name from the lands of Whitton in Morebattle parish Roxburghshire. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname from the latter source was first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below). Recordings from London Church Registers include: the christening of Ann, daughter of Huck and Mary Whiten, at St. Lawrence', Poutney, on July 4th 1689, and the christening of Benjamin, son of Joseph and Mary Whiten, on November 13th 1756. The surname development has included: de Witton (1296); de Wyttne (circa 1297); de Whitton (1303); and Qwitton (1361). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Magister R. de Wytton, which was dated 1285, witnessed a charter by John, Prior of St. Andrew's, Scotland, during the reign of King Alexander 111 of Scotland, 1248 - 1286. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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