The name Dunnstain is of Anglo-Saxon
origin and came from when a family lived near a stony hill. Dunnstain 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 Dunnstain family
The surname Dunnstain 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 Dunnstain family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Dunnstain research.Another 142 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1202 and 1291 are included under the topic Early Dunnstain History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Dunnstain Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations
were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Dunnstain family name include Dunstan, Dunston, Dunstone, Dunstane, Donston, Dunstavill and many more.
Early Notables of the Dunnstain family (pre 1700)
More information is included under the topic Early Dunnstain Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Dunnstain family to the New World and Oceana
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland
, the Canadas, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Dunnstain surname or a spelling variation of the name include : 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.