The surname of OSTEEN (a corruption of the name Austin) was a baptismal name 'the son of Augustine', the name means ' majestic'. Following the crusades in Europe in the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries, a need was felt for a family name to replace the one given at birth, or in addition to it. This was recognized by those of noble birth, and particularly by those who went on the Crusades, as it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Early records of the name mention Astin de Bennington of the County of Lincoln in 1273. Edith Austines was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. John Austen, or Austyn registered at Oxford University in 1538. The name was made common by the Austin Friars, or Black Canons, as they were called from their black cloaks, who were established during the 12th Century in England. Jane Austen (1775-1817) one of the most famous of the name was the English novelist born in Steventon, Hampshire, where her father was rector. She spent the first 25 years of her life there, and later went to live in Bath, Southampton and Winchester. She was the fifth of a family of seven, and began writing for amusement as a child. Of her six great novels, four were published anonymously during her lifetime and two under her signature posthumously. 'Sense and Sensibility' was published in 1811, 'Pride and Prejudice' appeared in 1813, 'Mansfield Park' in 1814 and 'Emma' in 1815. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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