The surname of STEVENS was a baptismal name 'the son of Stephen'. The name was originally derived from the Latin form STEPHENAS, and it was often given as a monk's name after the Norman Conquest. Early records of the name mention STEFANUS (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1066. Stephanhus Capellanus was documented in 1134, County Somerset. Gilbert filius Stephani, listed in the year 1273 in County Lincolnshire. Alice Stephens was documented in 1279, in Huntingdonshire. Richard Stephens was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Baptised, Dorothy, daughter of William Stephens at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1585. James Stephen married Flora Young at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1739. A notable member of the name was Joseph Rayner Stephens (1805-79) who was the Scottish social reformer, born in Edinburgh. In 1834 he was expelled from his Methodist ministry for supporting church disestablishment. He made a name for himself as a factory reformer, and opened three chapels in Ashton-under-Lyne and took an active part in anti-poor demonstrations. He was imprisoned for his struggles in 1847. 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. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another.
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