Recorded as Banstead, Benstead, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the small town of Banstead in Surrey which was originally recorded as Benstede as early as the year 676 a.d., and as Benestede in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The first recording of the town in what can be described as the modern form is in the year 1269, in the charters of the county of Surrey when the town is recorded as Banstede. It is therefore easy tio see how the later different surname spellings arose, particularly as locational surnames were also 'from' names. That is to say names generally given to people after the left their original home to move somewhere else, and hence their place of birth became their surname. As we have seen, spelling in the Middle Ages was at best indifferent, and with the surname soon lead to the development of alternative spellings. The place name and hence the surname translates as 'The bean farm' from the pre 7th century Olde English words 'ben stede', with stede, the later stead, meaning a (home) place, or in this case farm.
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