This medieval surname is a patronymic form of the given name Stephen or Steven. These in turn derive from the pre Christian Ancient Greek word "stephanos", meaning "crown"). Stephen was a popular first name in the Middle Ages, although prior to the Norman Invasion of 1066, it was used only by monks. It was also the name of the first Christian martyr. It recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in the Latinized form of "Stefanus" . Greek and Hebrew names were given to the children of returning 11th and 12th century "crusaders", and these names, which included "Stephanus", became very popular gradually taking over from the surviving "native" names, many parts of Northern Europe. In Britain early examples of the surname recording include Alice Stevens, also spelt as Stephenes, who was recorded in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Huntingdonshire in 1279, whilst in the following century John Stephenson was a Freeman of York in 1395. George Stephenson (1781 - 1848) is perhaps the most notable bearer of the name, famous for his development of the railway engine, "The Rocket", and for being known as The founder of the Railways. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Adam Stevenson which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls" of the county of Essex, during the reign of King Edward 111 of England, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377.
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