Recorded in several spellings including Rust, Ruste, and the rare Rustman, this is an English and sometimes Scottish surname. It derives from the Old English pre 7th century word "rust", meaning red, and was originally given as a nickname to someone with reddish hair or a ruddy complexion. The surname was first recorded in the early 11th Century, (see below), which places it among the earliest recorded surnames, with Robert Rust being noted in the Winton Rolls of Hampshire in 1148, and Robert Rust in the Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire in 1273.In 1492, Thomas Rust, rector of Congham, was noted in the "Norfolk County Records", and William Roust, tenant in Auchinanzie, Aberdeenshire, (1511), is the earliest bearer of the name in Scottish records. Apart from Scotland, the name is now chiefly found in East Anglia. On October 22nd 1542, Gyles Rust and Agnes Ive were married in Bardwell, Norfolk, and on February 4th 1598, John Rust married an Anne Blagbone in Kelvedon near Colchester, Essex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Cenwold Rust, which was dated 1016, "The Old English Byname Register", Kent, during the reign of Ethelred the Unready, 978 - 1016. 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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