This is both an Scottish and English surname which derives either from a petform of the personal name Steven (coming from the Greek "Stephanos" and translating as "laurel Wreath"), or from the Norse 'sten'- a stone. Both forms were very popular and it is quite impossible to distinguish between the origins. It is said that in Scotland the surname was chiefly found in Fife, Ayrshire and Roxburghshire, but in England there is hardly a county which does not have its share of recordings in the spellings of Stean, Stein, Steyne, Steane, Stain, Staines, Stayne - and many more. The early recordings include Stein and Sten of Yorkshire (personal names only) in the 1086 Domesday Book, whilst Richard Steyn is recorded in Worcestershire in 1275. In Scotland John Steyne was burgess of Glasgow in 1575, and in England Thomas Steane was recorded at St Dunstans church, Stepney in 1603. Amongst the interesting recordings is that of Katie Stein who it is said, lived a secluded life at Laighpark (Kirkoswald parish). She is supposed to have been the "Cutty-Sark" heroine of Burns "Tam O' Shanter". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alfricus Stein, which was dated 1155, the rolls of the abbey of Holme, Norfolk, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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