This interesting name, with variant spellings Steed, Steade and Stede, has two distinct possible origins, the first being an English locational name from a place in the west Riding of Yorkshire called Stead, named with the Old English pre 7th Century "stede", an estate, farm or site of a building. Richard de Stede (Lancashire, 1276), and Roberd del Stede, (Yorkshire, 1336), are among the earliest recorded namebearers from this source. Secondly, the name may derive from the Old English "steda", a stud-horse or stallion, and originally given as a nickname to a man of mettle or high spirits. One, Henry le Stede was noted in "The Eynsham Cartulary", Oxfordshire, in 1281. On April 3rd 1671, Bucknell, son of Ezekill Stead, was christened in St. George's, East Stonehouse, Devonshire, and on September 23rd 1690, Anne Stead was christened in St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vchtred Stede, which was dated 1180, in "The Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 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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