|The following is
an excerpt from Lawton Ancestral Lines by Frederick Brown
Lawton and Frederick William Lawton (1982):
>THE NAME AND PLACE
Genealogists agree that the Lawton family
name comes from the name of the residence of its first
bearers in Cheshire, England. The place was "Lautune" in
the time of Edward the Confessor (1042-66) and by 1200
or earlier it was "Lauton." Upon examining the lineage
of the family as copied herein from records of accepted
authorities it will be found the name was Lauton until
about 1500, when with the adoption of the letter 'w' in
English writing it became Lawton.
This from one writer: "Lautune (anciently
called Lauton under Lyme) before and after the Conquest
was divided into two unequal portions, both of which was
possessed by Godric in the time of The Confessor, and both
became the property of Hugo de Mara and occur together
in the Domesday survey as follows. It may be doubted, however,
whether one of the references does not refer to the neighboring
township of Buglawton, which down to a comparatively late
period was often simply called Lawton."
Different ways of spelling the name so originating
in Cheshire have been reported by some present-day research
bureaus. I have not found recordings of such variations
being adopted by a family. There are of course many errors
in the spelling of words and names in early records. Such
unintentional errors still occur. They are unimportant,
effecting no real change.
Regarding family names which are similar,
in correspondence with a distinguished New England jurist
of our name some years ago, he was convinced the Laughtons
are as much a different family as are the Lawsons.
The following record, no doubt referring
to the ancient grant to Hugo de Mara of the tract at Lautune
was copied ver batim in a Boston library. Understandable
to this writer in part only, it awaits full translation
by one better informed:
"Hugo (de Mara) tenet de Comite Lautune.
Godric tennit & liber homo fuit. Ibi I. hida geldabilis.
Terra est III. carucalae. Wasta est. Silva ibi I. lenva
longa & una lata, & una acra parti. Tempora Regis
Edwardi, valebat XVI. Solidos.
"Hugo tenet de comite Lautune, Godric tennit
Ibi dumdia hida Geldabilis, Terra est III. carucalae. Wasta
est. Silva ibi II. leuvis longa, & I. lata. Tempore
Regis Edwardi valebat XX. Solidos."
Members of the family still resided at the
ancient seat of the Lawtons at Lawton Hall, Cheshire, down
to a comparatively recent date, and it is believed it is
still the seat of the Cheshire Lawtons.
An old encyclopedia says of Chester, of
Cheshire or Chester county: "A city and seaport of England,
c. of Chester, on the Dee 164 m n w of London. This is
one of the most picturesque cities of Europe, exhibiting
as it does the architectural features of a city of the
Middle Ages in perfect preservation. Its streets are arched
over by the colonnades of the houses, here called rows.
The old walls form a magnificent promenade. The cathedral
is a noble Gothic pile built in 1094 (375 feet long and
its tower 127 feet high, according to another authority),
and in a crypt of St. John's church built in 698 is interred
Harold, the last of the Saxon kings. Chester, originally
a Roman city (cestrium) and esteemed the key to North Wales
sustained a long siege during the civil wars 1644. The
heirs apparent to the English throne take as their second
title that of Earl of Chester.
The report of Lawton generations in England
on pages following includes mention of the interest --
both property and administrative -- of early family members
in the establishment or growth of the Church. Beside grants
to the Church by the first Richard de Lauton (x in the
reported lineage), there were like grants by other family
members. It will be noted that several generations after
the first of these references in the outline the Lawton
location was called Church-Lawton. Ormerod, the genealogical
authority, has the following regarding the Church in his
survey of the Lawtons:
"The foundation seems to be about the close
of the eleventh century, when a chapel was originally erected
here by Hugh de Mara, then Lord of Lawton. The early ancestors
of the Lawtons appear to have held an interest in the church,
as it was soon after called when Ranulf, son of William,
and William, son of Adam de Lawton quitclaimed the advowson
to Abbot Simon, or Roger, and the Convent of St. Werburgh."
- End of Excerpt-