This is an early English locational surname from either of the places called 'Standish' in Gloucestershire and Lancashire. The place in Gloucestershire is first recorded as 'Stanedis' in 872, and that in Lancashire as 'Stanesdis' in 1178. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century words 'stan', 'stone', and 'edisc', enclosed pasture or park, the placename therefore meaning 'stony pasture'. There are three versions of the modern surname, Standish, Standidge, and Standage. The name of Miles Standish (1584 - 1656) is an important one in the history of the early settlers in the New World. He was a soldier of fortune, and from 1620 onwards the military leader of the Pilgrim Fathers, ensuring the success of the Plymouth colony. He is celebrated for his exploits against the Indians in poems by Longfellow and Lowell. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Stanedis, which was dated 1206, The Curia Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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