Recorded in several forms including Steaning, Stening, Stenning, Stennine, Steyning, Stenyng, Stennings and others, this is an English surname of ancient origins. It is locational from the village of Steyning in the county of Sussex. This place is first recorded as "aet Staeningum", in the year 880 a.d., in the famous works known as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles. It is also recorded as "Estaninges" in documents preserved in France, and dated 1085; and as "Staninges" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The plqce name and hence the surename derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "Stainingas".This translates as "The dwellers at (ingas) the Stone (stan)". Locational surnames developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. This also helped to account for the many different spelling forms. The surname is quite well recorded in early surviving church registers from pre Elizabethan times. Early examples from the Sussex region include that on March 16th 1542, of Tomas, the son of John Stenying, who was christened at the parish church of Rudgwick whilst on January 22nd 585, Sara Steanyn, was christened at the same church. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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