This interesting name, with variant spellings Anstee, Anstey and Ansty, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "anstiga", from "an", one, plus "stig", a path, especially a narrow footpath or one up a hill. These places include Anstey in Devonshire, recorded as "Anestige" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Anstey (Dorset), entered as "Anstigan" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 941; also Anstey in Hampshire, Hertfordshire, Leicestershire and Wiltshire, recorded respectively as "Hanstige, Anestige, Anstige" and "Anestige" in the Domesday Book for those counties.The surname first appears on record in the latter part of the 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: Richard de Anesty (London, 1273), and Henry Ansty, vicar of Guestwick, Norfolk, 1386. A notable namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Christopher Anstey (1724 - 1805), a scholar and fellow of King's College, Cambridge, who translated Grey's "Elegy" into Latin in 1762. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Anesti, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.
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