This unusual name, with variant spelling Gunston, is of locational origin from either of the places called "Gunton" in Norfolk and Suffolk. The placename derives from the Old Norse personal name "Gunnr" or "Gunne" meaning "battle" plus the Olde English pre 7th Century "tun", enclosure, settlement, hence "the settlement of Gunn". Gunton in Norfolk is recorded as "Gunetune" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and Gunton in Suffolk is recorded as "Guneton" in the Feet of Fines for Suffolk, 1198. The "s" was possibly a later addition of the 17th Century to assist pronunciation. The first recording of the surname was in the late 13th Century (see below). One, John de Gunton, vicar of Tunstal, Norfolk appears in the Feet of Fines for Norfolk, 1361. The marriage of Humfrie Gunstone and Jane Gibbons was recorded at St. Mary Woolchurch, London, on the 8th December 1595. Mr. Thomas Gunstone, an early emigrant to the New World, was listed as a landowner of some standing (165 acres) in St. George's parish, the Barbados, on December 23rd 1679. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Gunneton, which was dated 1273, The Hundred Rolls of Suffolk, 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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