This is an English and sometimes Scottish locational surname. If English it originates from the village of Colston Basset in the county of Nottinghamshire, or just possibly from a now 'lost' village in the 'English' county of Pembroke in South Wales. Pembroke was an area largely colonised by English and Norman-French in the three centuries after the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, and was the only English speaking part of Wales. However we have no proven evidence that this region produced any nameholders. The original Scottish connection is strong, there are several places in Scotland called Coston or Colstane, but there are few early examples of the surname recording. It is possible that the surname from this source is now extinct. However we do have the recording of Robert Colston, given as being a merchant Scotsman, who in the year 1465, was given a 'safe conduct' pass to England. The dictionary of English Place Names gives the meaning of the English village name as 'Kola's tun' from an old Viking personal name. This is possible, but Nottinghamshire was outside of the usual Viking influence. Our view is that it refers to a place where charcoal was manufactured, but either are possible. John de Colston is recorded as a landowner and probably lord of the manor of Colston, in the charters of Nottinghamshire in 1298.
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