Recorded in an amazing range of spellings including Beeston, Beaston, Beeson, Beeston, Bissin, Bisson, Beasin, Beasting, Beeswing, and even Beasting, this interesting surname is English. It apparently has nothing whatsoever to do with 'bees', and is a locational name from any of the various places called Beeston!. Those in the counties of Bedfordshire, Norfolk, Nottinghamshire and the West Riding of Yorkshire, are recorded respectively in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Besetuna", from the Olde English pre 7th century word "beos", meaning rough grass, with "tun", an enclosure or settlement; and hence "the settlement where rough grass grew". The place in Cheshire, recorded as "Buistane" in the Domesday Book, derives from the Olde English "byge", meaning trade with "stan", a stone; and hence "a 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. 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, whilst Sir William Beeston was Lieutenant-Governor of Jmaica in 1693. Other early recordings include Tomas Bissin at St Andews Holborn in 1740 and Walter Beaswin at St Mary's Rotherhithe, in 1858. 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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