This interesting and unusual surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from Sheraton, a place in Durham, which was recorded as "Scurufatan", circa 1050 in the "History of St. Cuthbert". The placename has the same derivation as that of Scruton in North Yorkshire; that is, they are both composed of the Old Norse byname "Skurfa", Scurf, plus "-tun", an enclosure or settlement; hence, "Skurfa's settlement". During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often used their former village name as a means of identification, resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname first appears in records in the early 14th Century (see below), while one Robert de Shirveton is mentioned in 1398 in documents published in the "History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham", by Robert Surtees. One of the most famous namebearers was Thomas Sheraton (1751 - 1806), an English furniture maker and author of the influential "Cabinet-Maker and Upholsterer's Drawing Book" (1791); the adjective Sheraton now denotes furniture made by or in this style of Thomas Sheraton, characterized by lightness, elegance and the extensive use of inlay. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen de Shurveton, which was dated 1318, in the "History and Antiquities of the County Palatine of Durham", during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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.