This is a locational name of some considerable history. It derives from the village of "Aughton" in Lancashire, a place recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book in the spelling of "Actuna". This translates as "The place of the Oak" and probably referred to the meeting place of the local council, elders or even the Court of Justice. The oak had particular significance to the ancient people, and was considered by them to be endowed with mystic and religious power. The surname is found in the spelling of Aughton, Auton, Avten and Autin, although the latter spelling is generally considered to be an "import" from Flanders and deriving from St. Augustine. The Coat of Arms has the blazon of a black field, charged with three golden garbs (wheatsheaves). It suggests that the name holders were originally wealthy land owners, and probably from the district of Hadlington, in Lancashire. The name is also well recorded in Yorkshire, firstly as Awton. The first spelling as Auton, is that of William Auton of Pateley Bridge, North Yorkshire, on August 19th 1686. Amongst the earliest was Adrian Auten, who was a citizen of New York (although British Born) when it was captured by the British in 1664. Early church recordings include Johanna Augton of Standish, Lancashire on April 14th 1561, whilst Thomas Auton who married Mergeria Kynge, appears in the register for Eccleshall, Staffordshire on May 14th 1582. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roberte de Actun, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the "Hammer of the Scots", 1273 - 1307. 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.