This name is of Northern English or Scottish locational origin from either of two places in Northumberland called Brunton, or from the village of Brunton in the parish Criech, Fife. The former two, recorded as "Burneton" and "Brunton" in the Feets of Fines for Northumberland, dated 1242 - 1296, are so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "burna" meaning a spring, brook or stream, plus "tun", a settlement; hence, "settlement by a stream". The Scottish placename shares the same meaning and derivation. The surname first appears on record in England towards the end of the 13th Century (see below). One Walter of Burntoun held part of Luffness, Scotland, in the reign of Robert 111 (1390 - 1406), and a John Brountoun was tenant of Aliebank, Selkirkshire in 1558. Interesting namebearers were William Brunton (1771 - 1851), engineer and inventor, employed in Boulton and Watt's, Soho, 1796 - 1818, and maker of the first marine steam engine. George Brunton (1799 - 1836), Scottish lawyer and miscellaneous writer was born in Edinburgh. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Brunton, which was dated 1292, in the "Hundred Rolls of Shropshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "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.