This very interesting name was thought to be locational and derive from the village of Bitterne, now part of Southampton. An alternative to this suggestion was that the name was a nickname for one who had the qualities of this Heron-like, fish hunting bird, in particular it's noisy, raucous cry, and given the 13th Century humour, this is quite possible. However a third recent discovery, suggests that the name could be a derivative of Button, the names associated with an early Coat of Arms - Ermine with a Red Fesse - being given as Button or Bitten. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Botun. which was dated 1296, The Sussex Pipe Rolls. during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 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.