Recorded as Horstead and Horsted, this is an English surname. It is locational from any of the villages called Horsted in the counties of Kent, near to the towns of Aylesford and Bromley, or from East Sussex near to Haywards Heath or Little Horsted at Uckfield, or Horstead in Norfolk, in East Anglia. All have a similar meaning of 'The horse farm' from the pre 7th century Olde English words 'hors stede'. All the villages appeared in the Domesday Book of 1066 although one of the Horsted's in Kent is first recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 862 a.d. This is one of the earliest of all known surviving recordings. It is not surprising that so many places were called 'Horse Farm', it is perhaps surprising that there are not more, given the importance of the horse to all aspects of life in those times and through into the 20th century. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original villages, to move somewhere else. The easiest way to identfy such strangers, was to call them by the name of the place from whence they came. This often lead to a distorted spelling, but seemingly not so in this case. It is unclear as to when the surname was first recorded, but John de Horstede of Essex appears in the famous Hundred Rolls of landowners in 1273.
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