The surname of PENSTON was a locational name 'of Penson' a spot in County Devon. Habitation names are derived from names denoting towns, villages, farmsteads or other named places, which include rivers, houses with signs on them, regions, or whole counties. The original bearer of the name who stayed in his area might be known by the name of his farm, or the locality in the parish; someone who moved to another town might be known by the name of his village; while someone who moved to another county could acquire the name of that county or the region from which he originated. The name was taken to Ireland by settlers. PENITONE (without surname) was documented in the Domesday Book of 1086, and appears to be the first of the name on record. PENYSTONE (without surname) appears in the year 1167, and Richard Paynestone was recorded in the year 1305, County Devon. Walter Penstone of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III. (1327-1377) and Joann Penstone of Yorkshire, appears in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379.
A later instance of the name mentions William Penson who registered at Oxford University in the year 1561.
The earliest hereditary surnames in England are found shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066 and are of Norman French origin rather than native English. On the arrival of the Normans they identified themselves by references to the estates from which they came from in northern France. These names moved rapidly on with their bearers into Scotland and Ireland. Others of the Norman Invaders took names from the estates in England which they had newly acquired.
The name is also spelt Penstone, and Penson. The associated coat of arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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