This surname of DENISTON was of territorial origin from the old barony of Danzielstoun in the parish of Kilmalcolm, Renfrewshire. The manor took its name from some man named Daniel, and it bore this name as early as the reign of Malcolm IV. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Sir Huew de Danielestoun of Lanarkshire who rendered homage in l296. His seal bears a shield, crucilly a fess compony, S'HVGONIS DE DANIELST. JOHANNES DE DANIELLYSTON who witnessed confirmation of a charter to Jacobus de Lekprewyk of lands in Kyle, l365 as John de DANIOTSON (a miscopying of DANIOLSTON) is designed 'dominus ejusdem' in l369 and in l37l was keeper of Dumbarton Castle and a baron of parliament. In the fourteenth century the family held the greater part of the barony of Glencairn in Dumfriesshire and Robert de Danyelestona, son of John de DANYELESTONA, had a charter 'Totam baroniam de Glencarne cum pertinenciis' in the sheriffdom of Dumfries, which his father had resigned in l370. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. The family ended in the direct line in an heiress, Margaret, who in l404 carried the baronies of Glencairn and Kilmarnock to her husband Sir William Cunningham, ancestor of the earls of Glencairn. Later instances mention Robert DENNIESTOUN or DANIELSTON who was admitted freeman of the Incorporation of Goldsmiths of Edinburgh l597. James DENISONE was a church elder in the parish of Kirkcaldie in l64l.
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