Recorded in various overlapping spellings including Barston, Berston, Burston, Barstow, Burstow, and Burstowe, this is an English surname. It is one of a group which can be either directly locational from a particular place such as Burston in the counties of Staffordshire and Norfolk, or Burstow in the county of Surrey, or dialectal. The confusion comes because in local dialects the villages have interchangeable pronunciation particularly as "burstow". In all cases the name means "the farm (ton) by a hill (burg)" from the Olde English pre 7th century, and both places appear in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Borstuna". Locational surnames are "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes, to move elsewhere. Spelling being at the very best indifferent, and local dilalects very thick, soon lead to the developmet of "sounds like" spellings. Early examples of the surname recording include: John de Burstowe in the parliamentary writs of the year 1301, and rather later Ann Burston who was christened at Madeley in Staffordshire, on April 21st 1580, and Elizabeth Burstow who was christened at Wranglingham, Norfolk, on January 1st 1571.
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