This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name, either from Swanston, south of Edinburgh in Midlothian, or from any of the various places in England called Swanton, including Swanton Abbott, Swanton Morley and Swanton Novers, Norfolk, and also Swanton in Kent. The latter four places were recorded respectively as "Swaneton" in 1044, as "Suanetuna" in the Domesday Book of 1086, as "Suaneton" in Wills Records of Norfolk, dated 1047, and as "Swanatun" in the 1321 Feet of Fines for Kent. All the places share the same meaning and derivation, that is, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "swana", (swine) herds, with "tun", enclosure, settlement, hence, "settlement of the swineherds". Locational surnames were originally given to the Lord of the Manor, or to former inhabitants of a place who moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. In 1221, Duncan de Swaynystoun and Mariota, his wife, made grants of portions of their lands of Swaynystoun to the Hospital of Soltre, and in 1567, Jenent Suanstone was a tenant under the Abbey of Kelso in Bowdene. On June 4th 1616, Christopher Swanston and Katherin Caish were married at St. Katherine by the Tower, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Suaneton, which was dated 1204, in the "Pipe Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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