The surname of HOUGHTON was a locational name 'of Haughton' in the North and West Ridings of Yorkshire. There are endless towns, villages and hamlets bearing this name. In the middle ages it was customary for a man to be named after the village where he lived, or from the land that he owned. This would identify the whole family, and followed them wherever they moved. The name is also spelt HOWTON, HOLTUNE, HALUGTON, HALGHTON and HOUETON, to name but a few. Early records mention William de Hoctona de Hohton, who appears to be the first of the name on record in 1115, County Yorkshire. Symon de Howtone was recorded in 1279, County Lancashire. John de Haleghton, 1273 County Yorkshire. Willelmus de Halgton of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Houghton of Houghton, Lancashire, was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1621. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. A distinguished member of the name was Richard Milnes, Ist Baron Houghton (1809-85). He was the English politician and man of letters, born in London. He was M.P. for Pontefract and entered the House of Lords in 1863. He championed many causes through the House, and was a patron of many young writers like Tennyson and Thackeray. An eminent member of the name was William Stanley Houghton (1881-1913) the English dramatist and critic, born in Ashton-upon-Mersey. His best known works were 'The Dear Departed' (1908) and 'The Younger Generation' written in 1910.The associated arms are recorded in Burkes General Armory. Registered at Gunthorpe, County Norfolk.
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