This very unusual and interesting name is of Norman (French) origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is an occupational surname, given originally to an inn-or tavern-keeper, derived from the Old French word 'oste, hoste', host, and echoed in the phrase still used in inns and public houses of today, 'mine host'. One Richard le Ost is recorded in the 'Chartulary of Guisburn Priory', Yorkshire, in circa 1200. In some cases, the modern surname 'Ost' may derive from a German or Dutch form of the English topographic name 'East', for someone who lived in the eastern part of a town or settlement, or outside it to the east, or someone regarded as 'coming from the east'. The christening of Arthur, son of Josias and Ann Ost, was recorded at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London, on September 30th 1637. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elias le Host (witness), which was dated 1254, The Somersetshire Assize Rolls, during the reign of King Henry 111, 'The Frenchman', 1216-1272. 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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