The surname Downton was first found in Wiltshire at Downton, a village and civil parish on the River Avon that dates back to Roman times where in 1953 the site of a Roman villa was discovered there. Moving ahead in time, the Saxons held the area c. 672 when it was listed as Duntun. 
More than 400 years later, the Domesday Book of 1086 lists the place name as Duntone.  The Manor House in Downton is generally thought to be the longest inhabited house in the South of England as it has been in use since c. 850.
There are two other locals named Downton: a civil parish in Herefordshire that contains the village of Downton-on-the-Rock; and a hamlet in Hampshire. Downton literally means "hill settlement" or "farmstead on or by the hill or down." 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Downton research. Another 60 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 161 and 1615 are included under the topic Early Downton History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)