The ancestors of the bearers of the Dounstane family name are thought have lived in ancient Anglo-Saxon England
. They were first found near a stony hill. Dounstane is derived from two Old English elements: dun
and stan. Dun
was a word for hill, and stan
meant "stony." The translation of the name is therefore "stony hill." It is also possible that the name is patronymic; that is, derived from the name of a parent. Dunstan was a popular given name in England
in the Middle Ages.
Early Origins of the Dounstane family
The surname Dounstane was first found in Cornwall
where they held a family seat
from very ancient times. The earliest reference of the name was of Dunstan (c.909 - 988,) who was an Abbot of Glastonbury, a Bishop of Worcester, a Bishop of London, and an Archbishop of Canterbury. He was later canonized as a saint. Durston is a village and civil parish in Somerset
that dates back to the Domesday Books where it lists Roger Arundel as originally holding the land but later passed to William de Arlegh who founded the priory of Buckland Sororum (also known as Buckland Priory) in about 1167. The market-town and parish of Shiffnall in Shropshire
was home to another branch of the family. "This place, formerly called Idsall, appears to have been of greater note than it is at present. It belonged to Earl Morcar prior to the Conquest, and at a period considerably later was the property of the family of Dunstanville, one of whom, Walter de Dunstanville, by the special command of Henry III., resided in the Marches, to protect them against the ravaging incursions of the Welsh
. The estate afterwards came into the possession of the Badlesmeres, who obtained from Edward I
. a market for two days in the week, and two yearly fairs." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Early History of the Dounstane family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dounstane research.Another 283 words (20 lines of text) covering the years 1202 and 1291 are included under the topic Early Dounstane History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Dounstane Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon
surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations
. Changes in Anglo-Saxon
names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Dounstane include Dunstan, Dunston, Dunstone, Dunstane, Donston, Dunstavill and many more.
Early Notables of the Dounstane family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Dounstane Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Dounstane family to the New World and Oceana
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Dounstane or a variant listed above: Andrew Dunston who settled in Virginia with his wife Cicely in 1653; William Dunston settled in Virginia in 1654; Anne Dunstan settled in Maryland in 1741.