This famous surname recorded in the spellings of Austen, Austin, Austins and Auston, derives originally from the Roman (Latin) "Augustine", and is the medieval vernacular form, being first recorded as a surname in the 13th Century (see below). The first Archbishop of Canterbury was St. Augustine, who died in 605 A.D., however, the name totally lost popularity until the 12th Century, when, during the Christian revival period, also associated with the Crusades, the religious order known as "The Austin Canons" was established. The present name is probably habitational in origin, as the order was celibate, and referred 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. A Coat of Arms was granted to the Austins of Surrey in 1611, being silver with three black chevrons, the centre being charged with three gold crosses. The name was introduced early into America, Edward Austin, aged 26 yrs., being a passenger on the "Speedwell" from London in May 1625. Less happy circumstances attended Thomas Austin of Somerset, who, on October 12th 1685, was ordered by "Bloody" Judge Jeffreys to be transported to Barbados or any other of his majesty's plantations for being convicted of being a "Monmouth rebel". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry Austin, which was dated 1275, in the "County Pipe Rolls of Worcestershire", 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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