This name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from the English city in Lancashire thus called. The name was spelt "Loncastre" in the Domesday Book of 1086 and "Lanecastrum" in the 1094 Pipe Rolls of that county. The first element of the name derives from the river "Lune" on which the city stands, plus the Olde English pre 7th Century "ceaster", a Roman fort. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below). One Edmund, Earl of Lancaster (1245 - 1296) called "Crouchback", the second son of Henry 111 and Eleanor of Provence was styled King of Sicily by the Pope in 1255 and renounced this claim in 1263, and is buried in Westminster Abbey. In 1327, one John de Lancaster appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire. Other spellings of the name have included: de Langcastre (Essex, 1327), Longcaster (Yorkshire, 1494) and Lankester (Suffolk, 1565). On July 4th 1635, one Gowen Lancaster, aged 28 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "Transport" bound for Virginia. He was one of the first recorded namebearers to enter America. Joseph Lancaster (1778 - 1838) found the Lancasterian system of education; he founded a Free School for a thousand boys in 1801. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Lonecastre, which was dated 1175, in the "Cartulary of Staffordshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches" 1154 - 1189. 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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