This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Donisthorpe, an ecclesiastical district, south west of Ashby-de-la-Zouch in Leicestershire. Recorded as "Durandestorp" both in the Domesday Book of 1086, and in the 1242 Book of Fees for that county, the place was so called from the Old French personal name "Durant, Durand", from "durer", to endure, last, ultimately from the Latin "durare, durus", hard, firm. This was fairly frequently used in the Middle Ages s a given name in the approving sense "Steadfast", and as a nickname in the less favourable sense "obstinate, stubborn". The second element of the name is the Olde English pre 7th Century "thorp", a relatively unusual word in English placenames, cognate with the Old Scandinavian "thorp", and translating as "outlying dairy-farm belonging to a village or manor", or "new settlement", hence, "Durand's thorp". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On September 1st 1562, Robert, son of Thomas Donisthorpe, was christened at Thornton, Leicestershire, and on December 7th 1801, the marriage of Martha Donisthorpe to John Stringher took place at St. Margaret's, Leicester, Leicestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Donisthorpe, which was dated April 28th 1560, witness at a christening in Thornton, Leicestershire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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