The surname of FENTON was a locational name 'of Fenton' the name of places in Cumberland, Lincoln and Nottingham. Local names usually denoted where a man held land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention Walter Adam de Fenton, who was documented in the year 1199 in Yorkshire. Johannes de Fenton of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Perrett Fenton married Mary Ashley at St. Mary Aldermary, London in 1741. The name was taken early to Scotland by settlers and John de Fenton, sheriff of Forfar in 1261, appears to be the first on record there. The name was derived from the barony of Fenton in East Lothian, held by the Fentons of the lords of Dirleton. Sir William Fentone sometime before 1270, married Cecelia de Bisset, daughter of Sir John Bisset of Lovat, and so acquired the lands and estate of Beaufort, and it was directed that he receive in the king's court his wife's part of the lands of her father in Ireland, so acquiring great estates for the Fenton family. A notable member of the name was Roger Fenton (1819-1869) the English photographer, born in Lancashire. He studied painting in Paris, and exhibited at the Royal Acadamy in 1849. He became photographer to the Royal family at Balmoral and Windsor for Queen Victoria. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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