Recorded as Cartan, Corten, Corton, Courtain, Courtin, Courtonne, and possibly others, this uncommon surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and origination, although these have now become "fused". Firstly it may be English and locational from any of the various places in England called Corton. These include villages in the county of Suffolk; near Calne in Wiltshire, and Corton also known as Cortington, a hamlet near Warminster in Wiltshire. The Suffolk place, recorded as "Karetune" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Corton" in the register known as the Feet of Fines for the year 1226, has as its component elements the Old Norse personal name "Carig" found on coins of King Aethelred, The Unready, and "tun", meaning a farm or settlement. The Wiltshire hamlet entered as "Cortitone" in the Domesday Book, and as "Cortun" in the "Register of St. Osmund", dated 1130, translates as "the settlement of Cort's people", from "tun" as above, and "ing", meaning the tribe or people of, with the personal byname "Cort". The second possible origin is from the Old French diminutive enderament surname "Courtin or Courtonne" meaning "The little one", and introduced into England in the 17th century by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country. Early examples of the surname recording include Thomas Corton, christened at Uffculme, in Devonshire, on October 14th 1553, and that of Marguerite, the daughter of Guillaume Courtin, christened at the Threadneedle Street French Huguenot Church, London, on October 17th 1630. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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