This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places so called. Most of them, for example those in Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, recorded respectively in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bistone", "Besetuna", "Bestune" and "Bestone", are named from the Olde English pre 7th Century "beos", rough grass, with "tun", enclosure, settlement; hence "settlement where rough grass grew". However, the place in Cheshire, recorded as "Buistane" in the Domesday Book, derives from the Olde English "byge", trade, commerce, with "stan", a stone; hence "stone where a market was held". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the mid 12th Century (see below), and can also be found as Beaston and Beeson. Andrew de Bieston is listed in the 1203 Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire, and Ralph de Bestune is noted in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire. Sir William Beeston was an early settler in America, going to Jamaica in 1660, and being appointed Lieutenant-Governor of the island in 1693. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with a black bend between six black butterflies volant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Beston, which was dated 1153, in the "Register of St. Benet of Holme", Norfolk, during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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