This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from any of the numerous places thus called, for example, in the Isle of Wight, Devonshire, Essex, and Northamptonshire. The general source of the name is the Olde English pre 7th Century elements, "east" meaning "east", plus "-tun" an "enclosure or settlement". The Olde English phrase "be eastan tune" meant "(Place) to the east of a settlement or village". One place thus called in Essex derives its name from the Olde English "eg" meaning "island", plus "-stan(as)", stones, whereas Easton Neston in Northamptonshire comes from the Olde English "Eadstanestun" a compound of the elements "ead", prosperity, "stan", a stone, and "-tune", settlement. Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. On January 8th 1685, one Robert Easton appears on a list of prisoners sent from Somersetshire to the Barbados Islands. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Eston, which was dated 1299, in the "Calendar of Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire", 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.