Recorded in several forms including Gilston, Gilstin, Gilstoun, and perhaps Gilton, this is a surname which is almost certainly of Scottish origins, although also recorded in the north east of England. However spelt it is quite rare, and it was only by the faintest chance that we recognised the Scottish ancestry. The name is locational and from an estate called 'The lands of Gilston', in the parish of Newburn, in the former county of Fife. Over the centuries the surname seems to have moved southwards into England, but even so it remains generally rare. However it is always possible that some epi-centre of the name exists, that we have not found,as there is a small village called Gilston in Hertfordshire, although we have found no evidence of surnames from this place. In Scotland the name is first recorded in the year 1445 when John de Gilstoun appears in the court registers for Fifeshire, the meaning is believed to be from the Olde English and Gaelic pre 7th century words 'cil' meaning a hidden place or 'gyl' a short form of gylden meaning golden, and hence either the hidden farm or possibly the gold farm, with gold having a transferred meaning of 'good farm'. An example of the later church recordings is that of Agnes Gilstin. She married Albert Nicklen at St Columba's church, Sandwich, County Durham, on July 7th 1917.
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