English: habitational name from any of the numerous places so called, which split more or less evenly into two groups with different etymologies. One set (with examples in Berkshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Herefordshire, Somerset, and Wiltshire) is named from the Old English weak dative hēan (originally used after a preposition and article) of hēah ‘high’ + Old English tūn ‘enclosure’, ‘settlement’. The other (with examples in Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Herefordshire, Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Somerset, Suffolk, and Wiltshire) has Old English hīwan ‘household’, ‘monastery’. Compare Hine as the first element.
Dictionary of American Family Names © Patrick Hanks 2003, 2006.