Recorded in several spellings including Langston, Langstone and the dialectal Lanston, this is an English surname. It is of locational origin from any of various places so called but specifically Langston in the counties of Devonshire and Hampshire. Both villages are recorded as Langeston in medieval documents, with the first element being the Old English pre 7th century word "lang" meaning long, or or in this context probably tall, and "stan", a prominent stone, one used as a county or parish boundary marker, or perhaps one of the single standing stones, which date from the Bronze Age. The surname being locational is a 'from' name. That is to say a name given to a person who had left their original village to move somewhere else, and was most easily identified by being called by the place name. In this case the epi-centre of the surname in the 16th century onwards, seems to have been in South Devon, and specifically the small town of Totnes. However it is also well recorded in the surviving registers of the city of London where examples include John Langston who married Jonne Hadcop at St. Mary-le-Bow on October 4th 1555, and George, the son of James Langstone, who was christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate on October 1st 1626. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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