This surname is English, and one of the first recorded anywhere in the world. It may be either topographic for someone who lived by a notable outcrop of rock, a stone boundary-marker or monument, or it may be locational from of the places called 'Stone' in Southern, Western, and Midland, England. These include the villages of Stone in Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Staffordshire, Somerset, and Worcestershire. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stan" or "stanas" meaning "the stone" or "stones". The village of Stone in Hampshire, for instance, was very likely named from a stone which acted as a sign post, and marked the point where boats left from Hampshire to cross to the Isle of Wight in the English Channel...
Stone (Variants: Stones)
Although the surname is most commonly a topographic name, for someone who lived either on stony ground or by a notable outcrop of rock or a stone boundary-marker or monument, it is also found as a metonymic occupational name for someone who worked in stone, a mason or stonecutter.
An English nickname from Middle English ston(e) , stan(e) ‘stone, rock’, not only denoting a worker in stone but perhaps a tough, resilient person, as hard as stone.
In Irish, this name was adopted for Irish Ó Clochartaigh (Cloherty) and/or Ó Clochasaigh (Clohessy), and possibly other names containing or thought to contain the element cloch ‘stone’.
Translation of various surnames in other languages, including German and Jewish Stein, Norwegian Steine, and compound names formed with this word.
There are various places in southern and western England named with this word, for example in Buckinghamshire, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Kent, Somerset, Staffordshire, and Worcestershire, and the surname may also be a habitational name from any of these.
In 1891 the frequency was widespread across England and Wales with 23,264 occurrences and a further 213 in Scotland. In 1881, general location was South West England with 1,284 occurrences in Devon.
The noted Joss Stone (b. 1987), stage name of Jocelyn Eve Stoker is an English soul singer-songwriter and actress who spent her teenage years living in Devon.
Another, Patsy Stone, a fictional character portrayed by actress Joanna Lumley in the UK television series Absolutely Fabulous. Perhaps depicting the Middle English nickname ‘as hard as stone’.
1881, 1891 Census
1881 Census in Devon
Dictionary of American Family Homes, P Hanks OUP 2003
Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, H.B. Guppy, London 1890
The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, P.Hanks, Coats, McClure OUP 2016
1860 Lower, Mark A Patronymica Britannica: a dictionary of the family names of the United Kingdom, London: J.R Smith. Public Domain
1857 Arthur, William An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. New York: Sheldon, Blakeman. Public Domain
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