This interesting name with spellings of Stead, Steed, Steade and Stede, has two distinct possible origins, both Olde English. The first is a locational surname from a place in the West Riding of Yorkshire called "Stead". This was named from the pre 7th Century word "stede", meaning an estate, or large farm. As early examples Richard de Stede of the county of Lancashire in the year 1276, and Roberd del Stede, of the county of Yorkshire, in 1336, are among the first recorded namebearers from this source. Secondly, the name may derive from the word "steda", meaning a stud-horse or stallion, and originally given as a nickname to a man of mettle or high spirits! As examples from this source Henry le Stede was noted in the register known as the Eynsham Cartulary of Oxfordshire, in 1281. Later examples taken at random from early surviving church registers include those of Bucknell Stead, the son of Ezekill Stead, who was christened at St. George's church, East Stonehouse, in the town of Devonport, Devonshire, on April 3rd 1641, and on September 23rd 1690, Anne Stead was christened at the famous church of St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vchtred Stede. This was dated 1180, in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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