Duston History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Anglo-Saxon name Duston comes from the family having resided near a stony hill. Duston 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." [1]

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 Duston family

The surname Duston was first found in Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times. The earliest reference of the name was of Saint 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 the son of Heorstan, a West-Saxon noble, whose estate lay near Glastonbury. [2]

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 earliest mention of Tehidy [Cornwall] occurs so early as the year 1100; at which time Alan de Dunstanville, who was then lord of the manor, and with whose female descendant William Basset married, granted a lease of Min winnion, now situated in the park, to Paul Guyer. This grant is said to have been renewed to Richard the son of Paul Guyer, about the year 1140 by William Basset, whose marriage with Cecilia, the heiress of Alan de Dunstanville, must have taken place some time between the dates of these two grants." [3]

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." [4]

John Danstin, Dastyn or Daustin (fl. 1320), was an early English alchemist who "occupied, the foremost place among the alchemists of his time, and was the only master of his art in England. Originally a monk, he gave himself up to philosophical inquiries, and was reduced to the utmost poverty. The only record which remains to fix the period when Dastin lived is a letter which he addressed to Pope John XXII." [2]

Interestingly, Colonel George Durston was a collective pseudonym used by the Saalfield Publishing Company as the author of various American series books in the early 20th century.

Early History of the Duston family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Duston research. Another 142 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1202 and 1291 are included under the topic Early Duston History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Duston Spelling Variations

Duston has been spelled many different ways. Before English spelling became standardized over the last few hundred years, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. As the English language changed in the Middle Ages, absorbing pieces of Latin and French, as well as other languages, the spelling of people's names also changed considerably, even over a single lifetime. Spelling variants included: Dunstan, Dunston, Dunstone, Dunstane, Donston, Dunstavill, Dunstanville and many more.

Early Notables of the Duston family (pre 1700)

More information is included under the topic Early Duston Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Duston migration to the United States +

In an attempt to escape the chaos experienced in England, many English families boarded overcrowded and diseased ships sailing for the shores of North America and other British colonies. Those families hardy enough, and lucky enough, to make the passage intact were rewarded with land and a social environment less prone to religious and political persecution. Many of these families became important contributors to the young colonies in which they settled. Early immigration and passenger lists have documented some of the first Dustons to arrive on North American shores:

Duston Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Thomas Duston, who landed in Maryland in 1673 [5]
Duston Settlers in United States in the 19th Century
  • E Duston, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850 [5]

West Indies Duston migration to West Indies +

The British first settled the British West Indies around 1604. They made many attempts but failed in some to establish settlements on the Islands including Saint Lucia and Grenada. By 1627 they had managed to establish settlements on St. Kitts (St. Christopher) and Barbados, but by 1641 the Spanish had moved in and destroyed some of these including those at Providence Island. The British continued to expand the settlements including setting the First Federation in the British West Indies by 1674; some of the islands include Barbados, Bermuda, Cayman Island, Turks and Caicos, Jamaica and Belize then known as British Honduras. By the 1960's many of the islands became independent after the West Indies Federation which existed from 1958 to 1962 failed due to internal political conflicts. After this a number of Eastern Caribbean islands formed a free association. [6]
Duston Settlers in West Indies in the 17th Century
  • Mr. John Duston, Cornish settler from St Columb, Cornwall, (b. 1608), aged 26, British settler travelling from Plymouth, England aboard the ship "Margarett" arriving in St Christopher (Saint Kitts) on 1st March 1634 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Duston (post 1700) +

  • Eugene W. Duston, American Republican politician, Candidate for Michigan State House of Representatives 34th District, 1964 [8]
  • Ms. Ruth Anne Duston O.B.E., British Owner of Primera Corporation and Chief Executive for Victoria Business Improvement District, was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire on 8th June 2018, for services to the Business Community in Central London [9]


  1. ^ Smith, Eldson Coles, New Dictionary of American Family Names New York: Harper & Row, 1956. Print
  2. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  3. ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print
  4. ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
  5. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)
  6. ^ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_West_Indies
  7. ^ Cornish in the Caribbean (retrieved on 23rd September 2021). Retrieved from https://books.google.ca/books?id=gnSFDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA265&lpg=PA265&dq=wallen+lizard+cornwall&source=bl&ots=ARTnm6uRLv&sig=ACfU3U3ewicUaBkTuwC_Gpr0ic-
  8. ^ The Political Graveyard: Alphabetical Name Index. (Retrieved 2015, November 4) . Retrieved from http://politicalgraveyard.com/alpha/index.html
  9. ^ "Birthday and New Year Honours Lists (1940 to 2019)." Issue 62507, 28 December 2018 | London Gazette, The Gazette, Dec. 2018, www.thegazette.co.uk/honours-lists


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