This surname seems at first glance to be locational and to derive from the ancient town of Glastonbury in Somerset. That some name holders do derive from this source through a noble family known to have lived in Dorset in the 15th century and earlier, is beyond argument. Confusion has arisen in that the surname has become inter-mixed with Glassenbury, from the village in Kent, and Glasenbury on Wye, in Hereford. Glastonbury is noted in the ancient book 'The life of Gildas of Glastingaea', written in the year 704 a.d., and in the 1086 Domesday Book when the spelling is given as 'Glaestingeberia'.The original meanings was 'the place where the woad grew', however the early medieval translation was tribal, 'the people who live on the island of Glastonia'. The surname was always rare and there is a strong suggestion that some of the Gloucestershire 'Glas(s)enburys' became 'Glaysonburys', and then Glastonbury. Certainly John Glaysonbury, christened at Horsley on August 12th 1733, would seem to be John Glastonbury, who married Abigail Brown at Bisley, Gloucester, on October 10th 1753. Other recordings include William Glostenbury of London in 1763, and Edward Glastonbury, christened at St. Peters Church, Stepney, on February 16th 1858. The ancient coat of arms granted to the first name holder has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a black bend engrailed. His son also called Henry, bore at the 1348 siege of Calais, a silver shield, with a bend fusily, meaning 'noble birth'. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Sir Henry de Glastonbury, which was dated 1308, the register of the Tournament of Dunstable, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as 'Edward of Caernafon', 1307 - 1327. 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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