The following is an excerpt from Lawton Ancestral Lines by Frederick Brown Lawton and Frederick William Lawton (1982):


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."


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