Recorded as Mapson, Mapston, Mapstone, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It has two possible origins. The first is locational from a now 'lost' medieval village or locality called Mapstone. This was in the Newton Abbot district of the county of Devonshire. The second possibility at least for some name holders, is the medieval given name (now also a surname) Mabb or Mapp, a nickname or slang form of Mabel. The people of the medieval time loved nicknames, and in fact prior to hereditary surnames, nicknames or petnames were the usual form of identification. In addition 'b' and 'p' were interchangeable, and given the erratic spelling of the period, were used at will in recordings. The translation of the placename was 'The place (tun) of the maple', from the Saxon word 'mapaul' with the later intrusive 's being an aid to pronunciation. Early exampoles of recordings include those of Elzabeth Mapstone who married William Roberts at St. Margarets, Westminster, in 1582, Madeline Mapson, who was chirstened at the church of St Mary Somerst, on October 28th 1600, whilst on March 1st 1652, during the 'reign' of Oliver Cromwell, Thomas Mabson was a christening witness at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney. Another recording is the christening of Henry Mapstone on February 19th 1719 at Wedmore in Somerset. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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