This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is from an occupational name for a "tipstaff" (court official charged with keeping order), or a "beadle" (a minor church official who keeps order), who usually carried a long staff as a badge of office. "Long" derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "lang", and "staff" comes from "staef" meaning staff, and also thinness, leanness (also an Olde English element). It would also have originated as a nickname for a particularly tall, thin man, resembling a long staff, or for a sergeant or some other officer of the law. The surname was first recorded in the 13th Century, and today it is found widespread in North East England. Early recordings include: Hugo Longstaf, who was entered in the Register of the Freemen of the City of Leicester in 1218, and William Longstaff, who was recorded in the History of Norfolk, dated 1347. In the modern idiom, the name has three spelling variations; Longstaff, Longstaffe and Langstaff. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Agnes Langstaff and William Jeffrayson at Romaldkirke, York, on May 1st 1580; the marriage of Edmund Langstaffe and Agnes Stevenson on November 27th 1580, at Romaldkirk; and the marriage of Ann Longstaff and James Walker in Bradford, York, on April 19th 1625. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Langstaf, which was dated 1210, in the "Pipe Rolls of Westmoreland", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.