This name is ultimately of Greek origin, from the personal name "Stephanas", itself from "stephanos", meaning crown or wreath. The name is found in England before the Norman Conquest of 1066, but only as a monk's name in its learned (Latin) form of "Stefanus", which is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. After the Conquest the name became popular in England, and indeed throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages, partly due to the fame of St. Stephen, the first Christian martyr, who was stoned to death at Jerusalem three years after the death of Christ. The personal name was also borne by King Stephen of England, known as "Count of Blois", who ruled from 1135 - 1154.There are a number of variant forms of the modern surname generated from the personal name, these include: Stephen, Steffan (a Welsh variant), Steven and Stiven, with the patronymic forms Stephens, Steffens and Stevens. The christening of Benjamen Stephen was recorded at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London, on March 31st 1661. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name from Gloucester is a silver shield, on a blue bend three silver lions' heads erased, the Crest being out of a gold ducal coronet, a silver dolphin's head. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Stephen, which was dated 1260, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Cheshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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