This most interesting and unusual name is of English locational origin, from a locality, called "Mapstone", in the Newton Abbot rural district in the county of Devon. This placename was probably composed of the Anglo-Saxon elements "mapul", a maple tree (Medieval English "mapel") and "stan", stone. Locational names were originally given to the Lord of the Manor or were used as a means of identification by those who left their place of birth in search of work elsewhere. The first recording of the name is found relatively late at the start of the 17th Century (see below). The London Church Registers record one John Mapiesden, son of Thomas and Elizabeth Mapiesden who was christened at St. Dunstan, Stepney on May 29th 1688. The name is frequently found in the Somerset Church Registers where the earliest recording is the christening of Henry Mapstone on February 19th 1719 at Wedmore. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elyzabeth Mapesden, which was dated June 2nd 1602, who married Thomas Bracken at St. Botolphs, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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