This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is found particularly in the southern English counties of Kent, Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex. The surname is topographical, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century word 'staeger' meaning 'stair', used in the transferred sense of an ascent or rise in the ground. The element can be seen in placenames such as Stairbridge farm in Bolney, and Steer's Common, in Sussex, and in the Stair, in Kent. Locational names were usually given to the Lord of the manor and especially to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area.The modern surname can be found as Stare, Stair, Stares, and Stairs. James Stares married Elenor Antrum on the 8th February 1677 at Rowner in Hampshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Stegre, which was dated 1195, in the Kent Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as the Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. 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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