The surname of WILTON was a locational name 'of Wilton' a parish and borough in County Wiltshire on the river Wily, whence its name. Habitation names, which are by far the largest group, usually denoted where the original bearer of the name held his land, and where he actually lived. These local surnames derive (with a few occasional exceptions) from English, Scottish or French places, and were originally preceded by a preposition such as 'atte' or 'bye'. The earliest local surnames of French origin are chiefly from Normandy, particularly from the departments of Calvados, Eure, Seine-Inferieure and La Manche, although some Frenchmen, arriving in England early acquired surnames from English places. Local names may derive from the manor held, the place of residence, and occasionally from a sign like an Inn or Tavern, or a particularly unusual shape of rock, hill, tree, stream or river. Early records mention Margery de Wilton, County Berkshire, 1273. Simon de Wiltone, County Somerset, during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Baptised. George Wilton, at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1591. William Wilton married Mary Pearson at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1751. A notable member of the name was Marie Wilton (1840-1921). She was a distinguished actress married to Sir Squire Bancroft, the English actor manager. From 1865 to January 1880 the Prince of Wales Theatre witnessed their triumphs in many comedies. They were also successful lessees of the Haymarket. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Snaresbrook, Co. Essex. Granted in 1768. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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