Recorded in a naumber of spellings including Stanton, Stannton, Staniton, Staunton, Steinton, Stinton, and possibly others, this is one of the earliest of all surnames. It is English and locational from any of the places called Stanton, Stainton, Stinton or Staunton, as recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. However spelt they usually derive from the Olde English pre 7th century words "stan or stein", meaning stone, and "tun", a settlement or village, and would describe a settlement situated on stony ground. However, Stanton Harcourt in Oxfordshire, and Stanton Drew in Somerset are probably so named in reference to their proximity to prehistoric stone monuments. A Staunton family has been established for nearly seven centuries at Staunton, in Nottinghamshire, and it is also a particularly popular surname in Ireland. It was taken there by early settlers who obtained large estates in County Mayo. Early examples of recordings include Walter de Stanton of Nottinghamshire in 1199; and John de Staunton of Oxfordshire in 1290. Later examples include Robert Staunton of Alcester, on February 6th 1661, and William Staniton and his wife Mary, who were christening witnesses at Leek Wootton, Warwickshire, on July 12th 1858. A coat of arms of the family has the blazon of a black field charged with a chevron between three silver lions' heads. The first recorded spelling of the surname is shown to be that of Godwine aet Stantune. This was dated 1055, in the Old English Bynames list, for the reign of King Edward the Confessor, Saxon king of England, 1042 - 1066. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop," often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.