The surname of MITTAN was of two-fold origin. It was a locational name 'of Mitton' a parish in the union of Clitheroe in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and partly in County Lancashire. It was also an occupational name derived from the Old French MOUTON - sheep - either a nickname or a keeper of sheep, a shepherd. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Stephen Muton of the County of Oxford in 1195 and Robert Mouton of the County of Leicestershire was documented in 1242. Robert de Mutone of the County of Somerset appears in the year 1327. John de Miton, documented during the reign of Edward II (1307-1327). Adam de Mytton of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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. Later instances include Robert Mitton of Great Marsden (clothier) who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1558. Richard Brakston and Margaret Mutton who were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in 1729.
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