Recorded as Featherston, Featherstone, Fetherston and the similar Featherstonhaugh or Featherstonehaugh believed to be the longest English surname, and which is also pronounced and recorded as Fanshaw and Fanshawe, these are all locational surnames. The first three originate either from the town of Featherstone in the former West Riding of Yorkshire, or Featherstone in the county of Staffordshire, and the latter four from Featherstonehaugh in the county of Northumberland. However spelt the derivation in all cases is the pre 7th century Olde English word "fetherstan", a word for a cromlech or burial chamber used for a chief, and which consisted of three upright stones with one headstone.The place names not surprisingly appear in the Domesday Book of 1086, except that of Northumberland, which was outside of the area conquered by the Normans in 1066. Locational surnames are usually "from" names, except when they are the name of the family holding the local manorial lordship. In this case Elias de Fetherestanehalg is recorded as being the lord of the manor of Feathstonehaugh in the Curia Regis rolls of the year1204, whilst Elyas Fanshawe is recorded in the registers of Derbyshire in 1566. The first recording is from a time when King John (1199 - 1216) was trying to raise taxes to pay off the Crusade debts of his brother King Richard 1st. Other later recordings include Petrus de Fetherstan in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, and William Feathstonhalgh, the master of St Mary's Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne, in 1740.
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