This very unusual name is of English topographical origin, and denotes someone who lived at or near a conspicuous tree stump, or possibly an enclosure formed by such stumps. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'Styfic', stump, as evidenced in the placenames 'Steeton', in West Yorkshire recorded as 'Stypletun' in 1030, and 'Steetley' in Derbyshire, recorded as 'Stiveleia' in circa 1160. The former means 'the village of the stumps' and the latter 'the stump grove'. Topographical features provided useful and obvious distinguishing surnames in the Middle Ages; there are very many examples such as 'Hill, Brook, Bridge, Oak(s)' etc. 'Sammel Steet' married 'Sarah Bennet' at St. James', Dukes Place, London in Feburary 1684. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aquell Steete, christened, which was dated 8th May 1670, St. Dunstan's, Stepney, during the reign of King Charles II, The Merry Monarch, 1660 - 1685. 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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