The surname of BARTON was a locational name 'of Barton', a place name in Sheffield. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he held his land: this name identified his whole family and followed him wherever he moved. It could have been his place of birth, or the name of his land-holding. This English surname has been in Ireland since the 13th century, but the leading family, mainly identified with Straffan, County Kildare, came in 1599. Early records of the name mention Aelfric at Bertune of the County of Yorkshire in 1015. John de la Berton of the County of Kent was documented in the year 1200. William de la Berton of the County of Wiltshire in was documented in the year 1273. Reginald de la Berton of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A notable member of the name was Andrew Barton (d. 1511). He was a Scottish naval commander, and cleared the Scottish coast of pirates. In 1506, he sent James IV. three barrels full of Flemish pirates heads. He was killed in an engagement with two English ships off the Suffolk Downs. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. Elizabeth Barton (1506-1534) was the English prophet known as the Maid of Kent or Nun of Kent. A domestic servant at Aldington, she began to go into trances and make prophetic utterances against the authorities after an illness in 1525. The Archbishop sent two monks to examine her, and one was convinced she was inspired by the Virgin Mary. Eventually she denounced Henry VIII's divorce and marriage to Anne Boleyn and was charged with treason and hanged at Tyburn with five others.
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