This interesting surname of Anglo-Saxon origin is a locational name from a place called Felsted in Essex, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "feld" meaning "pasture, open country" plus "stede" "homestead". The placename is recorded as Felstede in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below). Church records include Margaret Felsted who was christened on December 3rd 1559 at Great Burnstead, Essex, Rose Felsted who married John Hatche on April 23rd 1560 also at Great Burstead, and Grace Felstead who married Christopher Wade on January 23rd 1627 in St. Mary Abchurch, London. One Susan Felstead, daughter of Matthie Felstead was christened in St. Gregory by St. Paul, London on January 11th 1635. During the Middle Ages when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birth place to seek work further afield the custom developed that they would adopt the place-name as a means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Feltested, which was dated 1273, The Hundred Rolls of Essex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "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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