This ancient English surname of SEFTON was a locational name meaning 'one who came from SEFTON' a parish in County Lancashire, seven miles from Liverpool. The name was originally rendered in the Old English form CEFFTON, literally meaning the dweller at the place where rushes grew. The earliest of the place-name on record appears to be SEXTONE, listed in the Domsday Book of 1086, and SEFFTUN was how the name was recorded in 1222. Habitation names were originally acquired by the original bearer of the name, who, having lived by, at or near a place, would then take that name as a form of identification for himself and his family. When people lived close to the soil as they did in the Middle Ages, they were acutely conscious of every local variation in landscape and countryside. Every field or plot of land was identified in normal conversation by a descriptive term. If a man lived on or near a hill or mountain, or by a river or stream, forests and trees, he might receive the word as a family name. Almost every town, city or village in early times, has served to name many families. Later instances of the name include Thomas SEFTON of Skelmersdale, who was documented in the year 1593, and Richard Etherington and Mary SEFTON were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1754. Robert Page and Mary SEFTON were wed at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1806. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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