The surname Sexton is of English and Irish origin. When found in England the name Sexton is an occupational name for a sexton or church warden. It derives from the Middle English "sexteyn", which comes from the Old French "secrestein", itself originally from the Latin "sacristanus". Wwhen found in Ireland the name Sexton is an anglicized form of the Gaelic Irish "O'Seastnain", descendant of "Seastnan", a personal name of uncertain origin; though it may have been originally a byname meaning "bodyguard" from "seasuighim", "to resist" or "defend". Variants of this form include O'Sesnane, O'Shesnan and Shasnan. Today the name is mainly found in Limerick city. Eight Sextons have been mayors there, the most notable of whom was Edward Sexton (1535).
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