This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical name from residence by blackened tree stocks, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "blak", black, dark-coloured, with "stocc", stock, trunk of a tree, or a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place called Blackstock, believed to have been in northern England or Scotland. The component elements of the placename may be identical with those above, or alternatively, the second element may derive from the Olde English "stoc", holy place, monastery cell, indicating the establishment of a medieval settlement around a monastic site. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and locational names were chiefly given as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. In 1332, one Adam Blakstok was noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Cumberland. The surname is widely recorded in Scotland from the early 16th Century, examples include: William Blackstok (Edinburgh, 1517), and William Blackstock, of Berwickshire, who was appointed clerk of the court in 1524. A Coat of Arms granted to the Blackstock family of Scotland depicts three black trunks of trees, couped under and above, on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de la Blakestok, which was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.