This interesting name is of Old French origin, introduced into England by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The name derives from the Old French, and later Middle English "conestable, cunestable", from the Late Latin "comes stabuli", officer of the stable. The term was used in the Middle Ages as an occupational surname for a variety of officials, such as the law-enforcement officer of a parish, the chief officer of the household and army of a medieval ruler, or the governor of a royal fortress. Early examples of the surname include: Alice la Konestabli (1202, Lancashire); Clemens le Conestable (1273, Norfolk); and Margareta Constabille (1379, Yorkshire). Among the recordings of the name in London Church Registers are the marriage of Marmaduke Constable and Alice Spaulden at St. Mary Woolnoth, on November 30th 1550, and the christening of John, son of Phillip Constable, on January 26th 1566, at St. Mary Abchurch. Probably the most famous namebearer was John Constable (1776 - 1837) the English landscape painter. A Coat of Arms granted to Sir John Constable, knighted at the Capitulation of Calais in 1348, is quarterly vair and red, a border engrailed gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Conestabl, which was dated 1130, in the "Cambridgeshire Pipe Rolls", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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