This unusual and intriguing name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of that interesting group of surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental or moral characteristics, and supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition. In the case of the surname Boast, also found as Bost and Boost, the nickname was originally acquired by someone who was thought to be particularly boastful, a teller of tall stories, a braggart. The name derives from the Middle English "bost", bragging, vainglory, a term of uncertain origin but believed to be cognate with the Middle High German "boese", Middle Low German "bose", reckless, daring. Early examples of the surname include Ralph Boste (1327, Suffolk), and Walter Boost (1327, Sussex). Recordings of the name from London Church Registers include: the christening of Nicholas, son of John Boast, on July 25th 1613, at St. Michael's, Cornhill; and the marriage of John Boast and Ann Shutleworth at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on October 25th 1647. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Bost, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", 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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