This interesting name is of English locational origin from "Ellerton" in Shropshire and two places called "Ellerton" and a place called "Ellerton Abbey" in Yorkshire, the former recorded "Athelarton" and "Ethelarton" in 1285, in the Feudal Aids, while the latter places were recorded in the Domesday Book, 1086, as "Elreton", "Alerton" and "Elreton". The place name in Shropshire derives from the Old English personal name "Aethelheard", noble-hard and "-tun", Old English name for settlement, homestead, hence "Aethelheard's homestead, settlement". The Yorkshire places get their names from the Old English element "Alor", Alder, which may have been replaced by the Old Norse "elri", hence "the dwelling by the alder-trees". Prior de Ellerton was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire in 1279. John de Ellerton was a Freeman of York in 1300 according to the Register of the Freemen of York. Roger de Ethelartone was recorded in 1307, in the Chartulary of Ronton Priory. An interesting namebearer was Edward Ellerton (1770-1851), who was educated at Oxford, 1795, and founded the Ellerton theological Essay prize, 1826 and co-founder of Magdalen and Ellerton scholarships 1832, and wrote against Tractarianism, 1845. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Elreton, which was dated 1204, Assize Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King John known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.