This is one of the many patronymic forms of the male given name Stephen, i.e. son of Stephen. Stephen originated from the Greek "stephanos" meaning crown or wreath. The Greeks in their great days had no liking for kings, but the wreath of leaves awarded to athletic champions was looked upon as the greatest award obtainable. It was St. Stephen, the first martyr, who made the name famous. Though widespread on the Continent, Stephen was not used in England before the Norman Conquest; it is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, as Stefanus. By the fourteenth century, it was generally written as Stevyn or Steven, with Steen, Stim, Sten or Stin being later nicknames or endearment spellings. From these forms developed the variant patronymics which include Stim(p)son, Stenson, Steanson, Steenson, and Stinson. Where it occurs the "p" as in Stimpson is dialectal to aid pronunciation and follows "m" in many surnames e.g. Simpson, Thompson or Hampson. Examples of the surname recordings include Alys Stenenson, married at Greyfriars, London on August 30th 1557, Robert Stainson, who married Jone Bedstead (as recorded) at St Dunstans Church, Stepney on August 1st 1621, and Robert Stinson, also married at the same church on May 4th 1663. He is believed to be the Robert Stenson, who was christened at St. Dunstans, Stepney, on February 15th 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edward Stynson, which was dated 1539, in the Northumberland County Records, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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