Recorded in the spellings of Cranston, Cranstoun and the slightly transposed Cranton, this is a surname of Scottish origins. It is locational from 'The barony of Cranston', in Midlothian, Scotland. The first element of the placename is the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Cran", meaning a crane, and was a nickname personal name used to denote a tall, thin man with long legs, whilst the second element is the Olde English "tun" an enclosure, settlement; hence "Cran's settlement". During the Middle Ages when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. The surname is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below). Thomas de Cranystoun in the reign of Alexander 11 (1214-1249) made a donation to the hospital of Soltre of some lands lying near Paistoun in East Lothian for "the welfare of his own soul and for the souls of his ancestors and successors". Other early examples of the surname recording include Hanna Cranton, who married William Crafts in London on January 21st 1643 at the church known as St Andrew by the Wardrobe, whilst slightly earlier on December 22nd 1622, Daniel, son of William and Jane Cranstone, was christened at the church of St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elfric de Cranston, which was dated circa 1190, in "Collections concerning Scottish History, by Sir James Dalrymple", during the reign of King William "The Lion" of Scotland, 1165 - 1214. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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