This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Innerstone in Worcestershire. The placename derives from the genitive case of an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name cognate with the Germanic name "Isnard", composed of the elements "isan", iron, and "hard", hardy, brave, strong, and the Olde English "tun", enclosure, settlement; hence, "Isnard'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 was first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and in the modern idiom it can be found as Instone, Enston, Inston, Instan and Ensten. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of William, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Enston, in March 1632, at St. Botolph without Aldgate; the marriage of Phebe Ensten and John Phillips on July 24th 1815, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster; and the christening of Richard, son of Richard and Mary Ensten, on July 7th 1816, at Sion Chapel-Union Street, Mile End Old Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sibilla de Inardeston, which was dated 1275, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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