This interesting surname is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black death of 1348, also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place Ranstead is composed of the Old English pre 7th Century "rand" meaning "border or margin" plus "stede" "place". The surname dates back to the mid 16th Century, (see below). Church recordings include one Henry Ransted who married Bethia Palmer on April 26th 1684, at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, and Elianor, daughter of Henry and Bethia Ransted, was christened on January 1692, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joane Ransteed married Richard Aley, which was dated 1569, St. Dunstan in the East, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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.