|There seems to be as many
theories of the origin of the Langston name as there are Langstons.
I have studied a considerable number of them, and have decided to my own
satisfaction that the name is of ancient Anglo/Saxon origin coming with
the tribe in 400 A.D. from northern Germany and displacing the ancient
Britons primarily in the Kent, Lancashire and Yorkshire regions of England.
They eventually pushed the Ancient Britons back into the Cumbria area,
Southern Scotland, Wales and Cornwall. This did not take place over-night.
It was a period of about 400 years. As this Anglo-Saxon nation grew larger,
they divided themselves into 5 distinct kingdoms, a high king being elected
as supreme ruler. Alfred the Great emerged as the leader to dispell the
Danish invasion. This Viking intrusion, which was firstly successful, did
more to unite England than any other factor.
In 1066 England under King
Harold was enjoying a period of peace and prosperity, until the invasion
of William the Conqueror and his Norman hordes. With the success of Duke
William he was fully established as ruler of England. Many of the Anglo-Saxon
land owners were required to relinquish there lands to William and his
invading nobles. The A/Ss were restive under Norman rule and mamy moved
to the midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire where Norman influence prevailed
The family name emerged as
a notable English family name in the county of Leicestershire where they
were recorded as a family of great antiquity seated with manor and estates
in that shire. Robert Langeton was Lord of the manor of west Langton in
Leicestershire, whose son John Langton branched north into Lancashire and
became Baron of Newton. They also acquired Broughton Tower in Lancashire
and estates at Lowe in Hindley. Sir Robert Langton descended from the Barons
of Newton and was the scion of the family. They also acquired estates at
Leadhall in the same county and Walton in Cheshire. Notable among the family
at this time was Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury in 1207.
For the next two or three
centuries the surname Langston flourished and played an important role
in local affairs and in the political development of England.
After England's conquest
of Ireland, the government wanted to break up the Roman Catholic influence,
and granted lands to Englishmen, for a nominal fee, that formally
had been owned by Catholic Irish. Those Langstons participating in this
settled in county Kilkenny and becames the Barons of Kilkenny. (This is
where your Langston's were Irish myth comes from) In the early Anglo/Saxon
settlement times towns named Langston/Langton sprung up in Devonshire,
Hampshire and Buckinhamshire and there also exists on the Welsh border
near Newport, in Monmouthshire a town written Llangstone. (This is what
probably started the rumor about the Langstons being Welsh)
With the decree before 1200
A.D. that all men should be given surnames for further identification of
individuals; you begin to see the name "de Langston" popping up in records.
This was nothing more than people who lived in some of the villages by
the name of Langston who took that as their surname. The word "de" in the
Norman language meant of or from. Thus John de Langston was John of Langston
or John of the village of Langston. These types of surnames meant nothing
that would actually relate them with the real Langston/Langton families.
In early archive research
the name Langston appears many, many times. Sometimes the name appears
as Langton. The variations often occurred between father and son. Frequently
a person was born with one name, married with another, and buried with
another. Scribes and church officials spelled the name the way it was told
Research for this article
was carefully taken from ancient manuscripts as the Doomsday Book compiled
in 1086 A.D., the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, the
Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, parish registers, baptismals, tax records
as well as other ancient documents.
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