Recorded in several forms including Stein, Steen, Stent and Stone, this surname is English. It is perhaps not surprisingly one of the first recorded anywhere in the world. It may be either topographic for someone who lived by a notable outcrop of rock, a stone boundary-marker or monument, or it may be locational from of the places called Stone, Stean or Steans Bridge. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word stan or the Norse-Viking stein both meaning stone or stones, and refereing to prominent boundary markers or council meeting places. The village of Stone in Hampshire for instance, marked the point where boats left from Hampshire to cross to the Isle of Wight in the English Channel. The surname was first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below) and one of the earliest recordings being that of Robert Ston in the charters known as the "Curia Regis" Rolls for the county of Oxfordshire, and dated 1212. Other interesting recordings include Henry Stent or Steent, in the church registers of the city of Westminster on December 1st 1586, and Benjamin Stone, who flourished in circa 1630. He established the earliest known English sword-factory on Hounslow Heath, what is now London Airport. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Stanes. This was dated 1130, in the records known as the "Staffordshire Chartulary", during the reign of King Henry 1 of England. He was known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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