The surname of STEPHENSON was a baptismal name 'son of Stephen'. Other forms of the name are STEVEN, STEVENS, STEVENSON and STIMPSON. Early records of the name mention Gilbert fil Stephani of County Lincolnshire in 1273. Richard Stephen of County Oxfordshire was recorded in the year 1273 and Richard Stephens of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name include Dorothy, daughter of William Stephens who was baptised at St. James's Clerkenwell in 1585. James Stephen married Flora Young, St. Georges, Hanover Square in 1739. A notable member of the name was George STEPHENSON (1781-1848) the English railway engineer, son of a colliery engineer born in Wylam, near Newcastle. In 1815 he invented, contemporaneously with Davy, a colliery safety lamp, the 'Geordie', for which he received a public testimonial of \1,000. In 1821, he was appointed engineer for the construction of the Stockton and Darlington mineral railway (opened on 27th September, 1825), and in 1826 for the Liverpool and Manchester Railway, which, was opened on 15th September 1830. His 'Rockett' was the ultimate success, travelling at 30 miles an hour. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. This given name was originally derived from the Greek Stephanos, meaning 'crown'. This was a popular name throughout Christendom in the Middle Ages, having been borne by the first Christian martyr, stoned to death at Jerusalem three years after the death of Christ. The variant Stiven arose in Scotland at the beginning of the 19th century. A certain John Stephen of Charleston, near Glamis Castle, began to keep a journal in 1780 under the spelling Stephen, but by the time he came to write his last entry in 1830, he was signing himself John Stiven.
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