Recorded in several forms including Whiston, Wiston, and the unusual dialectals Wistow and Whoston, this is an English surname. It is locational from any of the places Whiston in Lancashire, West Yorkshire and Staffordshire. The latter two derive their name from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "hwit" meaning "white", plus "stan", a stone, whereas the Lancashire Whiston is believed to derive from the Olde English personal name "Hwit", plus "tun", a farm or settlement, and hence "the farm of Hwit". A further place called Whiston in Northampton is so named because of its association with the Hwicce tribe. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, see below, whilst William de Whiston was recorded in the Northampton County Records for the year 1292. The first recorded spelling of the family name is probably that of Arnald de Wiston. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of England. He was known as "The Hammer of the Scots" and reigned from 1272 to 1307. 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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