This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from places so called in Lancashire, Yorkshire, Durham, Northumberland and Cheshire. The placenames have two possible sources; the first is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'wic', dwelling, village, hamlet, and 'tun', settlement, enclosure, thus 'settlement by a village'. The second source is derived from the Old English 'widu', wood, and 'tun', as before, thus 'settlement by a wood'. However, the place in Lancashire may be derived from the Old English 'Witta', a byname derived from 'wit(t)', wits, mind, and 'tun', as before, thus, 'Witta's settlement'. The place in Cheshire was first recorded as 'Witune' in the Domesday Book of 1086, the place in Durham was first recorded as 'Wyton' in the Charter Rolls of 1195, and the place in Lancashire was first recorded as 'Witton' in the Assize Rolls of 1246. Among the sample recordings in Yorkshire are the marriage of Thomas Witton and Susanna Hileley on February 4th 1657 at Heptonstall, and the christening of William, son of Christopher Witton, on April 17th 1662 at Sedbergh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes de Wytton, which was dated 1379, Poll Tax for the West Riding of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Richard 11, 'Richard of Bordeaux', 1377 - 1399. 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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