This Spanish surname of COSTA was derived from the French word COSTE. It was a topographic name for someone who lived on a slope or river bank, less often on the coast. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form COSTA. Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries.It was also used as a baptismal name meaning 'steadfast and faithful' and was borne by an 8th century Irish martyr. This surname has also absorbed examples of the name Constans, which was borne by a 2nd century martyr, bishop of Perugia. The name was popular in Continental Europe, and to a lesser extent in England, as having been borne by the first Christian ruler of the Roman Empire, Constantine the Great (?280-338) in whose honour Byzantium was renamed Constantinople. The name is also spelt CUESTA, COSTI, COSTELL and COUSTEAU. Early records of the name recorded in England include Johanna Constantine, who was documented in County Kent in 1273, and Constantinius Walker of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. In 1702 there is a record 'John Constantine, whose mother fell in labour in the street' was baptised at St. Michael, Cornhill, London. The name was taken to Scotland by early settlers and Thomas Constane appears in Edinburgh in the year 1501, and Patrick Constyne was a witness in Perth in 1544. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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