This unusual and long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name from residence by a notable outcrop of rock, a stone boundary-marker, or a monument. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stan", stone, denoting a prominent stone of the type mentioned above, a Roman milestone, or a meeting-place stone of the hundreds (ancient land divisions in England). Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The name is recorded from the mid 13th Century with a wide variety of prepositions, examples include: Warin de la Stane (the Hundred Rolls of Devonshire, 1273); Reginald ad Ston' and John de la Stone, noted respectively in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Bedfordshire and Sussex; Roger del ston (Suffolk, 1277); John in the Stones (Staffordshire, 1332); and Elena de Stons (Yorkshire, 1379). The preposition "atte" first emerges in the late 13th Century (see below), and further early examples include: Robert atte Stone, noted in the Close Rolls of 1303, and Elias atte Stonis, mentioned in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. The retention of the preposition is unusual in this particular surname which normally appears as "Stone" in the modern idiom. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert atte Stone, which was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", 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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