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. The surname was first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below) and one of the earliest recordings being that of Robert Ston in the charters known as the "Curia Regis" Rolls for the county of Oxfordshire, and dated 1212. Other interesting recordings include Benjamin Stone, who flourished in circa 1630. He established the earliest known English sword-factory on Hounslow Heath, what is now London Airport. Symon Stone, given as being a "husbandman", left London on the ship "Increase" bound for the colonies of New England on April 15th 1635. He was one of the earliest settlers in America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Stanes. This was dated 1130, in the records known as the "Staffordshire Chartulary", during the reign of King Henry 1 of England. He was known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. Throughout the centuries surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.