Recorded in several forms including Aust, Awste, Austen and Austin, this famous surname is English. However its origination is the Roman (Latin) name "Augustine", and in its short form is the medieval vernacular, being first recorded as a surname in the 13th Century (see below). The original popularity of the name owes a lot to the first Archbishop of Canterbury, St. Augustine, who died in 605 A.D., however the name totally lost popularity until the 12th Century, when, during the Christian revival period, the religious order known as the Austin Canons was established. The present name is probably habitational in origin, as the order was celibate, and therefore the name refers to people who worked at the various properties owned by the order. As the popularity of the Austin order spread, the name became baptismal in its own right. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Nicholas Aust, who married Anne Martin at St Giles Cripplegate, in the ancient city of London, on December 27th 1630, whilst Edward Austin, aged 26 years, was one of the earliest colonists to New England, being a passenger on the ship "Speedwell of London" in May 1635. Less happy circumstances attended Thomas Austin of Somerset, who, on October 12th 1685, was ordered by the infamous Judge Jeffreys to be transported to Barbados or any other of his majesty's plantations. He was convicted of being a "Monmouth rebel". The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Henry Austin. This was dated 1275, in the "Pipe Rolls" of the county of Worcestershire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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