During the Middle Ages surnames were first used in order to distinguish between numbers of people bearing the same christian name. As taxation, under William The Conqueror, who invaded England in 1066, became the law, documentation became essential, and names were chosen from a man's trade, his father's name, some personal physical characteristic, or from his place of residence. In the case of the name ORTON it was a locational name from places so called in the diocese of Norwich, Peterborough, Ely and Carlisle. All these places seem to have contributed to the surname. The earliest of the name on record appears to be OVRETONE (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086, and OUERTON (without surname) was recorded in Norwich in 1248. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. Other instances of the name mention Robert de ORTON, who appears in County Oxford, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377) and Alan de ORRETON of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe. Later instances include James ORTONNE of County Cheshire, who registered at Oxford University in 1592, and William ORTON married Ann Chandler at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1774. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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