This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "ceorla", the genitive plural of "ceorl", churl, peasant, and "tun", enclosure, settlement. These places include: Chorlton, a parish and village near Nantwich in West Cheshire, recorded as "Cherletune" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Chorlton, a parish north west of Malpas in Cheshire, containing Chorlton Hall; Chapel Chorlton in Staffordshire; and Chorlton upon Medlock, Lancashire. Chorlton cum Hardy, an ecclesiastical district, south west of Manchester, Lancashire, recorded as "Cheluerton" in the 1259 Assize Court Rolls of that county, has as its initial element the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Ceolfrith", a compound of the elements "ceol", ship, and "frith", peace, with "tun" (as above). Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. In 1587, one Richard Chorlton, of Chorlton, was noted in Wills Records of Cheshire, and in 1603, John Chorlton, of Manchester, was entered in the same records. A Coat of Arms granted to the Chorlton family is a gold shield with three piles and a canton ermines. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de Cherleton, which was dated 1327, in "Medieval Records of Somerset", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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.