The surname of MIDDLETON was a locational name 'of Middleton' the name of many places throughout England. 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.The name was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Middeltune (without surname). Early records of the name also mention Richard de Midelton, 1273 County Yorkshire. Gilbert de Middelton, County York, ibid. William de Middleton of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Johannes de Midilton of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Christopher Middleton of Cheshire, registered at the Oxford University in 1580. A notable member of the name was Thomas Middleton (1570-1672) the English dramatist. He published his first play in 1602, and was repeatedly employed to write the Lord Mayor's pageant. Conyers Middleton (1683-1750) was the English controversialist and clergyman, born in Richmond in Yorkshire. He was a fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge, and became librarian to Cambridge University in 1719, and rector of Hascombe in Surrey. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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