This unusual and interesting name is of Northern English locational origin from a place called Ellestob in the parish of Stainton, County Durham. Over the centuries the surname has been recorded variously as Ellesstobbe, Ellestob, Elstob, Elstop, Elstub, Elstup, and others in the Assize Court Rolls of Durham from 1242. It seems that the place was named from the pre 7th Century words "ellern", meaning elder-tree, and "stob", tree stumps hence. It is known that the whole area from York north to Durham was completely devastated by the forces of King William 1st in 1070. This was the punishment for rebelling against his control, and such was the damage that not a thing was left standing and all the people killed or left to die of starvation. It may be that Elstrobbe was one of the places left in a demolished condition. Certainly the surname is particularly well recorded in church registers of County Durham. Early surviving recordings include Mary, Elstob, who was christened at Egglescliff, on September 8th 1543, John Elstobb christened at Haughton le Skerne on September 17th 1572, whilst in the city of London John Elstub was a christening witness at the famous churuvch of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 18th 1718. William Elstob (1673 - 1715), a divine, educated at Eton and Cambridge Hall, Cambridge University, claimed descent from Welsh princes, an interesting theory. 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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