Recorded in the spellings of Stave, Stove, and Stoves, this is an English surname. Of pre 7th century origins, it is usually topographical and describes either a person who lived or worked by a "staef", an early pier or breakwater, or in a wood from which staves for barrels were cut. Indeed it is possible that it was also a metonymic or nickname for a barrel maker. The village of Stavely in Derbyshire means the wood (leah) of the staves, so it is also possible that some surname holders may also have originated form this place. Locational surnames were amongst the first and the last to be created. In many cases which explains why they were also last, they were given to people who left their former homes to move elsewhere, since the easiest way to identfy a stranger in the late medieval period even through to today, was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic and local accents very thick, often lead to the development of "sounds like" spellings. In this case early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Joane Stave, who married John Walker at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on June 23rd 1603, Elizabeth Stove, the daughter of Robert Stove, christened at St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on October 30th 1614, and about seventy years later at the same church, the recording of Henry Stoves, whose daughter Anne was christened on December 30th 1680.
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