This very interesting surname generally found in the spellings of Boustead and Bowstead. The origin is Olde English pre 7th century, the derivation being from 'Bula stede' which translates literally as 'The bull farm', although the modern surname probably owes its direct origin to the village of Boustead Hill in Cumberland. As is quite common with locational surnames, we find it recorded in London well before it appears in the church registers of its own area. There are several reasons for this situation, the first being that locational names were given to people after they left their original home, and then as a means of identification. Secondly when people left, which was usually as a result of plague, war, (particularly so in the case of the Border Country), or agricultural decline and enclosure, they tended to go to London. As now London was considered the mecca, furthermore it had the bureaucracy, and hence the registration. Examples of the recordings of the surname include Mary Bowstead who married Thomas Langley at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney on february 10th 1652, whilst nearer its original home, Jannet Boustead married John Linton at Crosby upon Eden, Cumberland, on November 28th 1672. The Coat of Arms of the family has a green field charged with a cross between four cinquefoils, all silver etc. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Boustead, which was dated July 23rd 1624, married at St Anns by the Wardrobe, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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