John ALSTON of Newton Suffolk. 
- Marriage: Unknown about 1481 in Newton SFK
- Died: Bef 1514
The Alstons sprang not from any " Battle Abbey" or Norman baronial stirp, but as Guppy puts it from that "great body of freeholders the yeomanry of the middle ages, a body which in antiquity of possession and purity of extraction was probably superior to the classes that looked down upon it as ignoble." It would be interesting however to know how Guppy carries the antiquity of possession through the centuries when feudalism prevailed, and what exactly he means by purity of extraction in connection with that " thorough bred mongrel " an Englishman.
Stemmatta Alstoniana Pg 351
According to Lionel Cresswell in Stemmata Alstoniana a John Alston of Newton in Suffolk is the most remote ancestor in the direct connected line. But of him there is little known except that he is stated to have been descended from a William of Stisted in Essex, in the time of Edward I.
Ref Harts MSS No 1390 British Museum (Vide Burke).
The family of Alston is upon record so early as the reign of Edward I (1272-1307), when "William Alston of Stisted in Essex, for want of warranty of Burkscraft in Stisted did grant or confirm to John de Carpenter of Naylinghurst, so much of the better land in Stisted except his mansion house there". In that time of Edward III, Hugh Alston bore for arms, azure ten stars or four, three, two and one, which was long before coat armour was granted by patent: Henry and Robert Alston also mentioned in the Botule (?) Hundredorum as having land at Fulbourn Cambridgeshire.
In the reign of Edward 1st, (1272-1307) William Alston of Stisted in Essex, for want of warranty of Brackscroft in Stisted aforesaid, did grant and confirm to John de Carpenter of Naylinghurst, so much of the better land in Stisted except his mansion house there.
N.B. Edward 1st was the first king since the conquest who treated the English race on terms of equality.
In the time of Edward III.(1312-1377) HUGH ALSTON bore the arms
Azure, ten estoiles or., four, three, two, one.
This was long before coat armour was granted by patent.
Does this indicate Hugh was an early ancestor.
Investigation has brought to light several ALSTONS living in the neighbourhood of Newton and Sudbury as contempories of John, so that it will not be rash to assume that the migration from Stisted occured some while anterior and that the family had ramified around its new settlement. Probably too, its position had become established and assured, for John was father of William Alston.
The IGI (unreliable) refers to the birth of a John Alston abt 1460 in Suffolk. A further entry refers to a birth of a John Alston abt 1475 at Edwardstone Suffolk, Thomas Alston is shown as a relative. Two marriages are recorded of a John Alston of Newton to Mrs John Alston dated 1481 & 1484?.
Golding transcribes an entry in the Stistesd ESS Registers as "Itm. eodem die baptizatus sunt Johes fili Johis Ayston 11 Jan 1541"
John Alston  Mayor of Sudbury 1572
The Demise below dated 1514 refers to a tenement named Crekys on the Sudbury to Assington Rd belonging to John Alston, now desceased, then William Alston.
BURY ST. EDMUNDS AND WEST SUFFOLK RECORD OFFICE Received from Mr. L A. Sheppard, 55 Park Town, Oxford, per the East Suffolk Record Office. Ac. 869 .
Thomas Gosse, son of John Gosse, at instance of Joan Medevryn, widow or Thomas Medewyn formerly of Newton, and Robert Rowge, executors of the will of the same Thomas Medewyn to Thomas Bonham Esq., Stephen Roose and William Taylour. A messuage and three pieces of land in Newton. The aforesaid messuage with garden called Pryours lying between a tenement, once of John Fuller now of Thomas Warner, and the common pasture called Newton Hethe, with one head abutting on the way leading from the Rectory there towards the Church of Newton, the other head abutting on land once of John Wyffyn called Santerescroft now called Town Croft. The first piece of land was formerly built upon with a messuage, contains one acre and lies between land once of Peter Jurdon afterwards of Richard Mody, then of Andrew Halys and now of Thomas Hale on both sides and abuts at one head on lands pertaining to the tenement called Crekys once of Richard Croke then of JOHN ALSTON and now of WILLIAM ALSTON and at the other head on the highway leading from Sudbury to Assington. The second piece of land contains half an acre lying in the field called Outefeld viz; between land of the Rectory of Newton and land pertaining to a tenament called Colles pertaining to the chantry founded in Acton, with one head abutting on land of the same tenement called Colles, the other head abutting on land called Basely otherwise Crookes formerly of Robert Donyng now of John White. The third piece of land formerly was called a garden and contains 1 rood of land and lies between the common pasture called Newton Heath and land of the manor called Newton Hall called Yves Croftes. These premises Thomas Gosse formerly held jointly with Thomas Medewyn of Newton, Isabella his wife, John Deene, gent., Richard Smyth, jun. , and JOHN ALSTON, NOW DECEASED, of the feoffment of Richard Gosse of Newton, Grinenilde, his wife, John Gosse and Edward (or Edmund?) Waspe as appears in a certain charter then made. Having and holding to Thomas Bonham, Stephen (Roose) and William Taylour, their heirs and assigns, to the use of Thomas Bonham and his heirs 2 August, 1514. (1 parchment document, seal of Thomas Gosse missing).
ALSTON (JOHN) ' Benedictine,' adm. to oppose in theology 1507.
Fosters Alumni Oxoniensis 1891
Alstoniana Pg 348
Suffolk Poll Tax Lists 1381
Thomas Alston ij - shillings vj - pence
Catherina his wife.
Thome Alston iiij - pence
Thomas Alston  of Sudbury Will proved (Arch Sud) 1469 married Isabel . . . . . 1469. John Alston of Newton in Suffolk descended from William of Stisted was father of William etc. . . . .
TRANSLATION OF THE WILL OF THOMAS ALSTON [see RIN 433]
In the name of God Amen.
On the 30th of August 1469 I, Thomas Alston of Sudbury in the Diocese of Norwich
being in full possession of my faculties, make my will in this manner.
First I bequeath and commend my soul to Almighty God, to the blessed and glorious Virgin Mary and all the saints, and my body to be buried in the churchyard of St. Gregory of Sudbury, close to the grave of my wife Isabel.
Item I will that all debts which I owe in any wise soever shall be entirely paid . . . . . . ? and principal.
Item I bequeath to the high altar of the church of St. Peter in recompense of my tithes and dues in any way withdrawn or negligently omitted by me, 13s 4d.
Item I give and bequeath to the convent of Friars of the Sudbury house, for repairing the back wall, in order that they may celebrate for the soul of me, Thomas Alston, and Isabel my wife, four trentals of St. Gregory as soon as possible after my decease, 40s.
Item I bequeath to the convent of Friars of the house of Clare, in order that they may celebrate among them two trentals for the souls of myself and my wife, 20s as soon as may be.
Item I give and bequeath to Isabel my wife my capital messuage with its appurtenances and a tenement with a certain piece of land adjoining, formerly belonging to John Suffeld, gent., lying in Sudbury aforesaid, to have and to hold to the aforesaid Isabel my wife, her heirs and assigns for ever under the following condition, to wit that the said Isabel, my wife, shall pay to George Prentys and JOHN ALSTON, my executors or their assigns ten marks of the current money of England within five years next after my decease, to wit, every year of the said five years, 20s 6s. 8d
Item I give and bequeath to the said Isabel my wife eight (seed baskets) of malt or four marks instead of the said malt; and the remainder of my malt there shall remain to my executors, to be sold and disposed of for the benefit of my soul.
Item I give and bequeath to my said wife my best girdle with silver ornaments.
Item I give and bequeath to Amy, wife of Ada Moralbutes one charger, three platters, three dishes and three saucers of tin, and a brass bowl containing two pints.
Item I give and bequeath to Isabel at Hoo of Melford a tenement with its appurtenances in Melford called Hame Hamundes Crycke? to her heirs and assigns forever.
Item I give and bequeath to Isabel, daughter of John Salter deceased, a tenement with its appurtenances in Sudbury lying next the messuage of Thomas Herbert, to have and to hold to the said Isabella Salter her heirs and assigns for ever
Item I give and bequeath to the said Isabel Salter one charger, three platters, three dishes and three saucers of tin.
Item I give and bequeath to the six sons of JOHN ALSTON 40d apiece
Item I give and bequeath to WILLIAM ALSTON, brother of the said THOMAS ALSTON,
Item I give and bequeath towards the repairs of Otton Belchamp church 40d in order that the parishioners may pray for my soul.
Item I give and bequeath to the repairs of the church of Cornard Magna, 40d that the parishioners may pray for my soul.
Item I bequeath and give to the Guild of St. George of Sudbury a brass bowl at the discretion and good will of Isabel my wife.
Item I will that my executors shall find a secular priest to celebrate divine service in the said church of St. Peter for an entire year, for the souls of myself and my wife Isabel, and of others for whom I am bound, taking for his wages the ten marks my wife will pay as abovesaid.
Item I give and bequeath to John Alston my best " Baslard (dagger) " with silver ornaments.
Item I give and bequeath to Isabel my wife all the utensils called houslements and ? furniture in my house not before bequeathed, to dispose of as she pleases.
Item I will that my executors on the day of my, obit shall distribute 40d among the most needy poor people; and 100s on the seventh day and 100s on the thirtieth day in like wise among the most needy poor folks.
Item I give and bequeath to the parish priest of the church of St. Peter 4s.
Item I will that the curate of the said church shall recommend the souls of myself and my wife in his Lord's day prayers every Sunday, and in his mass once a week without interruption during the ten years next after my death, and shall have 4s. for his pains every year of the said ten years.
Item I will that my executors shall arrange for exequies to be celebrated and held every year for twelve years immediately after my decease, for the souls of myself and my wife, and shall distribute to the amount of 20s among the most needy poor, as long as it may be conveniently done out of my goods, after the payment of my debts and legacies
I give and bequeath the residue of all my jewels not above bequeathed to my executors to pay my debts and to fulfil my bequests as above noted, and to do further as shall seem best to them to arrange for the salvation of my soul.
And of this my will I make, constitute and ordain the aforesaid Isabel my wife, George Prentys and JOHN ALSTON my executors execute it as above provided. And I bequeath to each of my executors aforesaid for his pains, beyond reasonable expense incurred or to be incurred 13s 4d.
Item I exhort andin God's name require all and singular my feoffees in the aforesaid
messuages lands and tenements, with all their appurtenances, to deliver their status therein conformably to the tenor of this my will, when duly required by my executors.
This my present will was made in the presence of John Risby, John Petbury, chaplains, and others, at Sudbury aforesaid in the diocese of Norwich the day and year above-written.
This present will was proved before the official of the Lord Archdeacon of Sudbury at Sudbury on the 25th day of Sept 1469 and administration of all and singular concerning the said testament was committed to the executors in the said will named, sworn in due form prescribed by law.
In witness whereof we have affixed the seal of our office to these presents, the place, day and year aforesaid.
This most interesting Will shows that the Alstons were substantial yeomen owning land in and around Sudbury upwards of a hundred years before the connected pedigree begins. I have, as yet, no evidence of the degree consanguinity in which the testator or the JOHN ALSTON and his six sons stood towards the early patriarchs of the pedigree but it is hardly rash to assume that one of JOHN's sons was a lineal ancestor.
The testator himself appears to have been childless.
Lionel Cresswell 1895
In 1870-72, John Goring's Imperial Gazetteer of England and Wales described Newton like this:
NEWTON-NEAR-SUDBURY, a parish in Sudbury district, Suffolk; 3.25 miles E of Sudbury r. station. Post-town, Sudbury. Acres, 2, 197. Real property, L3, 561. Pop., 529. Houses, 102. The manor of Newton Hall belongs to Earl Howe; and the manor of Botelers, to the Rev. T. H. Causton. The living is a rectory in the diocese of Ely. Value, L597.* Patron, St. Peter's College Cambridge. The church is ancient; retains a Norman arch, which was formerly a doorway; and comprises nave and chancel, with S porch and a tower. There are a Primitive Methodist chapel and a national school.
The Norman Survey of Suffolk Manors shows a freeman Alston holding lands in demesne of Hervey of Bourges in Great Bealings.
Prefatory Chapter (1905) The early Alstons, that is to say, those of whom we catch occasional and stray glimpses prior to 1564, appear to have belonged to, "that great body of Freeholders, the yeomanry of the Middle Ages, a body which, in antiquity of possession and purity of extraction, was probably superior to the classes that looked down upon it as ignoble." 1 The English yeomen in the past were a stay-at-home people, passing uneventful lives on their own acres, which frequently remained in the hands of the same family for five or six generations, and were handed on from father to son with a regularity that betokened long life and but natural decay. Each died as a rule well stricken in years, piously bequeathing in his last will and testament his soul to God, his body to the earth from whence it came, and his lands to his descendants. In nearly every county there are yet to be found several families of yeomen living in the same quiet remote parishes in which their ancestors resided two centuries or more ago. Each family is represented in the Church Register by an uninterrupted succession of entries of births, marriages, .and deaths, in which the same Christian names occur over and over again in genealogist. a manner very confusing to the These Registers, however, do not usually commence at an earlier date than the sixteenth century, and as a rule, therefore, are not of much service in throwing light on the origin of a family.
"From the wills of the yeomen of 250 or 300 years ago we can extract much that throws an interesting light on their ways of life, and a little, too, that in the musty parchment still preserves its pathos, and may supply us often with the only information we possess of many an unhistoric line, and these somewhat monotonous characters are eminently suggestive of peaceful and contented lives. The usual bequests to the Church and to the Poor, .and the promise of twelve or twenty pence to the ringers for the ringing of their knells, indicate the simple faith and religious practice of our yeomen ancestors. The well-to-do yeoman bequeathed to his eldest son his principal belongings, his house, his acres, his "waynes and plough geare," his live stock, and a few hundred pounds; to his wife a house, a feather-bed furnished and 10 pounds a year, 30 shillings to be paid quarterly.; to his other sons two kine apiece ; to his daughters a silver spoon and a cow apiece, to be delivered into their own hands, and not into their husband's ; to his grandchildren a sheep apiece ; to a favourite niece a black heifer or a white ewe ; 20 shillings to the poor, and 20 shillings to the Church, and "20 pence to the ringers for the ringing of my knell."
"Usually these ancient yeomen were but little affected by the wars and political factions of their times. were not troubled with ambition, and few cared to wander far from the vicinity of their birth-place. From the stationary conditions of their lives and from the nature of their pursuits and surroundings, they acquired a solid mediocrity of character to which the long persistence of families in the same locality and in the same station is mainly due. England in truth owes much to their lack of aspiration, and to their home loving ways. It is, however, remarkable that the rise of a family into a condition of opulence is, as a rule, shortly followed by its dispersal, until, within a generation or two, the home of the name for centuries knows it no more."2
Of the origin of the name Alston as a surname it is difficult to speak with certitude. It is probable that the first permanent surnames were the appellations of the place of birth, or residence, or of a favourite ancestor. Surnames were not in use in England and Scotland before the Norman Conquest, and they are first to be found in the Domesday Book. Many surnames such as Mortimer, Warren, Mowbray, Clifford, Arundel, and the like which are " accounted great names of antiquity " (according to Camden), were first assumed at the time of the Conquest. The employment of a second name, a custom introduced by the Normans, who themselves had not long before adopted it became in course of time a mark of gentle blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for a gentleman to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had." It was not, however, until the reign of Edward II. that the practice had become general amongst the common people. " Coming to the origin of surnames, we have it from Camden that those most ancient and of best account were derived from places in Normandy, or in the neighbouring parts of France, and that, in fact, there was no village in Normandy that gave not its name to some family in England. However, a far greater number of family names originated from places, there being, as Camden observes, scarcely a town, village, hamlet, or place in England which has not afforded names to families. The ancient manors gave their names to their lords, and the numberless small estates similarly gave their names to their possessors. In the great majority of cases, as Camden well remarks, the place bore its name before the family did its surname, and the old antiquary becomes a little wrathful with those men who "think their ancestors gave names to places."3 Now there are several places in England bearing the name Alston, to which I shall advert more fully, and near one of them, Alston in Lancashire, there are to be found persons having the name as a surname. Nevertheless, the close connection between Alston and the Saxon personal name Alstan or Ealhstan, cannot be lightly passed over in favour of the place name theory. It has been a subject of discussion whether the Anglo-Saxons did not use surnames. There is no question that they frequently distinguished themselves by appellations added to their original or Christian name to indicate some personal peculiarity office, trade, affinity, or possession.4 One Saxon M.S. seems clearly
1 Stubb's Constitutional History of England, 1884, iii., 569.
2 Guppy's Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, p. 1-3, Lond., 1890.
3 Guppy's Homes of Family Names in Great Britain, p,p., 15-16.
4 Turner's History of the Anglo-Saxons, Vol. 3, ch. vii, p. 8.
(Page ii) to express an actual surname, that of Hatte a whole family bearing it.5 Granting the occasional assumption of surnames by the Anglo-Saxons, and bearing in mind that one probable source of surnames was the desire to exhibit descent from or kinship with some prominent person, it is possible that the surname Alston is the direct lineal representative of the Saxon name Alstan. An argument in favour of this also is that the position and possessions of the family in East Anglia, so far back as any account can be unearthed, were of a nature to render less probable the idea of the migration thither of the founder of the family from any of the places Alston in times subsequent to the general adoption of surnames. The growth and ramification over a county of a family of importance was necessarily a slower process in ancient days, ridden as the country was with tortuous feudal restrictions, forbidding the free passage of either land from man to man, or man from land to land, than in these days of millionaires and motors. Whatever doubt there may be as to the derivation of the surname from the place name there can be little or none as to the substantial agreement of both in meaning. The situations of the places denominated Alston, on the stony slopes of barren moors and fells indicate the relevancy of the appellation, and the weakness of ancient Anglo-Saxon parents for indulging their vanity by dubbing their children with fantastic and lofty names was as pronounced as it is in the case of the modern Anglo-Saxons their children " Gulf-wolf, and Stan-stone, were things possessing qualities they desired to cultivate in their offsprings, hence both were frequently compounded with adjectives for use as proper names. Of names with stan as a termination there are many instances: Dunstan - the mountain stone, Aethelstan - the noble stone, Alfstan - the elf stone, Hebstan, Werstan, &c., besides Ealhstan or Alstan. Verstegan in his Restitution of Decayed Intelligence, thought the meaning of Alston was " most noble" or " excellent." The termination of the name apparently escaped him altogether, A punning allusion to the meaning seems to have supplied the family mottoes, "Immobilis" and "Immotus" and another more obscure analogy seems to account for stars being chosen for the armorial bearings. Turning to the places called Alston we find there are four. The most important of these is Alston in Cumberland, the next Alston in Lancashire, the third Alstonfield (or Alstonefield) on the borders of Derbyshire and Staffordshire, then Alston on the borders of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. There is also a town called Beer Alston in Devonshire. I have seen Alciston in county Devon written Al'ston. With one of these only, Alston in Lancashire is the surname now-a-days to be found in any way connected. Supposing the surname to have been adopted from the place, it would thus appear that Alston in Lancashire has the first claim to be considered the cunabula gentis, but I will make no pretence at a decision. It may not however be amiss to consider briefly the topography of these different places. Each has its possibilities as the home of the race and is therefore of interest. Alston in Lancashire is a township in the ecclesiastical district of Longridge, on the western side of Longridge Fell, forming a part of that village in the hundred of Amounderness, six and a half miles north-east from Preston, and near to the Longridge Station, on the Preston and Longridge Railway. Longridge Church is in the township. The area is 1,989 acres, chiefly applied to pasture and meadow; its rateable value is L7,800, and the population in 1881 was 1,589. The earliest historical trace we have of inhabitants in Lancashire is by the names of the rivers, of which the Lune, or Alauna, the Seteia, and Belisarna, afford evidence that that this was known to, or occupied by, the Iberians, like the other Western portions of the Island. Whether it was included in the Belgian occupation is unknown, but the Romans found there the great Celtic tribe of the Brigantes; this was overcome by Agricola, and the district was brought within the Roman Province of Maxima Caesariensis. By the Romans, it was as thickly settled as the rest of the island, but of this occupation only the ancient names of a few stations remain, although there are many names given by the Early English inhabitants which bear witness to the Roman occupation. The Roman Road, Watling Street, passed from Manchester north-west through Blackburn to Ribchester ; other roads were south-east from Manchester and south-west into Cheshire ; one westward in the direction of Warrington, and from Pendleton near Manchester roads diverge north-west to Blackrod near Chorley, and north-east into Yorkshire. On the decline of the Romans the district was occupied by the Welsh, and commonly formed part of the Kingdom of Cambria, which was occasionally independent, and occasionally under the supremacy of the English Commonwealth of North Cambria. About 680 King Egfrid overcame part of the shire, but although gradually and regularly occupied by the English, it did not wholly fall into their power till the time of King Edward the Elder, about 921. The topography is very deficient in the names of the great English clans which mark the epoch of early invasion ; and the names of places derived from persons belong chiefly to a much later date. The county is mountainous in the north and east, level in the south and west. In some parts are peaty and boggy stretches called Mosses, the result of the growth of a kind of moss called "Spaghagnum" but most of these peaty lands are now drained and yield excellent crops. Specimens of the stone tools which were used by the earliest human inhabitants of our island have not occurred very plentifully in Lancashire, objects of a large and conspicuous nature only having been found. Alston in Cumberland is comparatively a much larger and more important place than Alston in Lancashire, although itself only a small market and union town with a terminal parish on the road from Penrith to Newcastle. It is the head of a County Court district, with a station on a branch from Haltwhistle of the North-Eastern Railway; fifty miles from Newcastle by rail, and nineteen north-east from Penrith by road. The town is somewhat irregularly built, situated in a mountainous district between the rivers South Tyne and Nent ; rising from nine hundred to a thousand feet above the level of the sea, and surrounded by mountains rising to nearly three thousand feet. The Church has been thrice built, first in 1154, on the same site in 1768, and again in 1869 -70. There is a Town Hall, a handsome Gothic building of stone. The Market Cross in the centre of the Market-place is a square covered building open on all sides, having in the centre a stone column rising to the roof. It is the reproduction of a former Cross built in 1765 by the Right Honourable Sir William Stephenson, Bart., Lord Mayor of London, a native of the district. There are various Institutes and Clubs. A weekly Market is held on Saturdays, and Fairs for horses and cattle several times a year. Silver is always found in the lead ore. Copper and " Black Jack," or native sulphide of zinc, and umber are found. "Crow Coal" a peculiar variety having very little flame, burning slowly with an intense heat, and used principally for lime burning, is found on Alston Moor. There are limestone
5 Cott. M.S. Lib. B. 6.
(Page iii) quarries, limestone breaking and umber works, a knit hosiery factory, two corn mills, a saw mill, and a small colliery near Ayleburn. There are many natural beauties and curiosities in the neighbourhood. Nent Force is a romantic cascade of considerable height, and just below it the river Nent joins the South Tyne. Large caverns are met with in the lead mines, and being formed of variegated spar in numberless forms of crystallization, present a very beautiful and even splendid appearance. The Roman road called the "Maiden Way" crossed the west side of the parish, where its remains are very distinct in several places. An inscribed altar has been found here ; at Hall Hill are the remains of a Roman Camp, in which silver denarii have been met with, and two bronze vessels. At Ganigill is a field called "Chesters." Upon Hall Hill, a little below Tyne Bridge, and opposite the confluence of the Nent and South Tyne, are the foundations of an ancient fortress once surrounded by a moat. Tutman's Hole is a large cavern in Gildersdale Forest of unknown length, but said to have been explored for more than a mile from its mouth. Small Trout abound in the rivers and grouse upon the moor, where grow clustered brambles like cranberries, commonly called "cloudberries." The country-side dwellers therein and their manners have been well described in a recently published volume of tales. Of the aborigines of Cumberland nothing is said to be known, but some of the geographical names are supposed to attest Iberian occupation, as the Tyne, Tees, and Nent. The Celts succeeded the Iberians, but the Belgae do not seem to have reached so far. Of supposed Drurdical remains there are many in the hills. At the time of the Roman invasion, the great Celtic tribes of the Brigantes had possession, and were beaten A.D. 1220 or 1221 by the Romans. Hadrian then caused the wall known by his name to be built from frith to frith across the island. Various Roman roads and stations are still to be traced besides the great Roman wall. The Scots and Picts harassed the county in the latter part of the Roman time and long after. The Welsh inhabitants constituted a kind of state, which has been called Cumbrian, extending from the Mersey to the Clyde. The English gradually pressed on the border and exterminated the Welsh, or drove them as exiles into Wales. Cumberland was then held as a dependency of the English in Northumbria or the Scotch lowlands. In 945 it was held by Malcolm, King of Scotland, and from time to time by other Scots Kings until 1237 when it was finally annexed to England. Being on the borders of Scotland it was the seat of frequent wars and forays, and also suffered severely in the Parliamentary war, and in the advances of the Old and Young Pretenders. The natural beauties of the county in the shape of the mountains and waters of the Lake country are well-known. The climate on account of these hills is among the wettest in England. At Keswick the yearly fall sometimes reaches 70 inches of water, and snow lodges on the mountain tops every winter. Many traces of prehistoric man have been found. Only three instances it is said are known of celts or axe heads having been found in England with the wooden handles still attached, and two of these were found in Cumberland. Rude stone circles, and the remains of what appear to be stone-pit dwellings occur among the mountains. Alstonfield (or Alstonefield) is a village or parish of well built houses, in a picturesquerposition above the western declivity of Dove Dale on the borders of Derbyshire. The scenery of the parish traversed, as it is, by the meandering streams of the Dove and Manifold is wild and picturesque : on the hill side at Welton is a large natural hollow, called "Thor's Cave" above the glen rises the tree-girt church of Grindon ; below this, near Welton Mill the Manifold sinks underground and only rises again at Ilam just before its confluence with the Dove, the rocks of this locality are of considerable height, and the mountain streams afford excellent sport to the angler. The Church of St. Peter is a building of stone with a few Norman remains, but is chiefly of late perpendicular date. In the churchyard are an ancient stone font and stone coffin, as well as portions of several early crosses. The register dates from the year 1538. The area of the parish is rather over more than twenty-three thousand acres. The soil is loam subsoil, limestone, gritstone, and clay. The land is chiefly in pasture. The population is about 3,500. The entire district was first held by the Iberians, perhaps by the Silures who were driven out by the Welsh. At the time of the Roman conquest the tribes in possession were the Coritani and Cornavii, and the country was made part of the province of Flavia Caesariensis. Many remains of circles, cairns, and barrows are to be found on the uplands. The land was afterwards taken by the middle English, and shared the lot of the great kingdom of Mercia. Most of the local names in the neighbourhood are English, and there are a few referring to the religion of Woden. In the time of Ethelred I, the Northmen overran the country and long held it. It was part of the great federation of the Five Burghs.
Alston in Gloucestershire is a hamlet belonging to the parish of Overbury in Worcestershire, and was formerly in the latter county, but was transferred by Act of Parliament early in this century. The soil is chiefly clay, subsoil clay. There is a chapel of ease. The area is rather over a thousand acres, and the population is about seventy. This part of Gloucestershire and Worcestershire was first occupied by the Iberians who long lingered here, their last chief tribe the Silures, offering a stubborn resistance to the Belgae and Celts. By the Romans it was included in the province of Flavia Caesariensis. After their abandonment of Britain it was seized by the Celts, and then by the middle English, with whom it formed part of their kingdom of Mercia.
Beer Alston is a town of about 1,000 inhabitants, about two miles north of the village of Beer Ferrars in co. Devon. It was formerly a parliamentary borough, but was disfranchised by the Reform Act of 1832. There is a chapel of ease (Holy Trinity), erected in 1848 Large quantities of fruit are grown locally, especially blackberries, called locally "mazards." There is a school for girls and infants founded by Mr. John Maynard, Sergeant-at-law, one of the prosecutors of Strafford and Laud. He was M.P. for Beer Alston in 1661, and died October 9th, 1690. So much for the possible cradles of the families of Alston. There is plenty of room for search in the archives of the Public Record Office and in the rolls of the various manorial courts respecting the association of persons bearing the name of Alston with these places, and the possible derivation of the surname from them. I regret I cannot myself give the time to it. We will now turn from places of the name to persons who have borne it. First, we may remark its comparative rarity. In Kelly's 1905 Post Office London Directory (Court section), the name occurs sixteen times, and includes repetitions of some mentioned in the County Directories. In the Commercial section the name occurs eighteen times, and includes some reckoned in the Court section. In Slater's (Page iv) 1893 Directory of Scotland it occurs twice in Edinburgh, and very occasionally in the counties. In Slater's Irish Directory (1893), it is not to be found in Dublin at all. Among Kelly's Provincial Directories (Court Sections) it occurs in that of Kent (1903) six times, including repetitions of some in the London Directory, the owners following their profession or other vocation in London, and residing out of town. In Surrey (1903) it occurs seven times, in Sussex (1903) three, in Essex (1902), a seat of the East Anglia family, three times there are also two farmers of the name), in Herts three times, and in Middlesex three times only. In the Cumberland, Derbyshire, and Staffordshire Directories it is not to be found in the Court sections, nor traceable, so far as I have gone, in any of the other sections. In Gloucestershire (1902) it occurs three times. The infrequency of the name in these counties in light of the existence of the place name is curious, especially as in Kellys Directory of the county of Lancaster are to be found three Alstons in the Court Section, two publicans, two followers of the craft of St. Crispin, two cloggers, two drapers, five farmers, and two shopkeepers. The frequency of the name in Lancashire lends some colour to the theory that Alston near Ribchester may be the place whence the family originally sprang. The genius of the family seems ever to have been that for the middle course. Not by any sudden meteor flight did it reach a dazzling and giddy height, tumbling thence precipitately like so many. No Alston appears to have sought the dangerous atmosphere of the Court, when it was the fashion for knight or squire so to do. Even in the parlous times of the Commonwealth and Rebellion, when the downs of to-day were the ups of yesterday, it steered its way carefully step by step. A few, it is true, suffered the amercement of a tithe of their possessions under Oliver Cromwell's celebrated ordinance, and Viscount Castlemaine, the regicide,who married Frances Alston, was deprived of all his honours and degraded at the Restoration of Charles II. for the part he had played in the Commonwealth ; along with Sir Henry Mildmay and Sir Robert Wallop, he was sentenced to be drawn on a sledge with a rope about his neck from the Tower to Tyburn and back again, and to be imprisoned in the Tower for life. Of his end I have learned nothing. Several Alstons have sat in Parliament at different times, and some have been soldiers and sailors, but generally it may be said they have not been
"The State's whole thunder born to wield
And shake alike the Senate and the Field:"
The care and administration of lands and estates, the learned professions, the courts of law, the service of the Church, and the hospital have been their fields of action, and in these they have never failed to achieve success justifying their rank and station. In the faculty of physic the family achieved considerable renown in the person of Sir Edward Alston, Knt., President of the College of Physicians. Born of wealthy parents, he went through the usual University training of the gentleman of the time, successively taking his degrees of Bachelor and Master of Arts, and then obtaining the M.D. degree and a Fellowship of the College of Physicians. Presumably he was proficient in the practice of his profession, for he died very rich at his house in Great St. Helens, Bishopgate. But over and above his medical skill he possessed address in affairs, foresight, and administrative capacity of no mean order. The practice of medicine was much less restricted then than now. Like most early institutions trying to regulate a profession, the College of Physicians had great difficulty in restraining unqualified practitioners. Many of these were no doubt quite as able as their duly licensed brethren for the science of Medicine was not then the exact science it is now, and the question was rather a political one of the expediency of enforcing submission to a central controlling body. At length an opportunity arose to win over the better class of the unlicensed, and deal a death blow to the pretensions of unscrupulous men who sought not to cure, but to take advantage of the ills that human, flesh is heir to. During the desertion of the city consequent on the visitation of the plague in 1665, thieves broke into the treasury of the College and stole the funds. This was a grievous predicament for the association to be in, and the Fellows were at a loss to know what to do, when Sir Edward Alston came forward with a proposal which eventually found acceptance. Briefly it was that admission to the Fellowship of the Society should be accorded to the unlicensed practitioners of the Rebellion on payment of certain fees. The plan worked well. Seventy new Fellowships were created, the moneys paid for the diploma fee fattened the lean chests of the treasury, and the new Fellows, jealous of the privileges they had acquired, helped the College in establishing its authority over the faculty. Two better birds were never killed by one stone. Another blow awaited the College. No sooner had it got over the difficulty of the thieves than the Great Fire, of 1666 destroyed the whole of the buildings. Again Sir Edward Alston was to the front, promising the wherewithal out of his great store of inherited and accumulated wealth for the purpose of rebuilding. At this point a quarrel arose among the Fellows about the site. A new election for the Presidency came along and Sir Edward was thrown. Disgusted at the treatment he had suffered, he withdrew his promise and never afterwards renewed it. If the quarrel was wholly and solely about the site, the action of the Fellows would appear to be rather hypercritical. Any site with a College is better than a particular site without a College. Sir Edward left no male heirs. His brother Sir Joseph was already rich and on the highway to the baronetcy he obtained in 1681. So the great medical fortune was left to his two daughters, one of whom became an ancestress of the later extinct Earls of Warrington, and of the present Earl of Stamford's family. The younger, Sarah, was thrice married, first to George Grimston, the son of the then Master of the Rolls, Sir Harbottle Grimston ; secondly to John Seymour, afterwards fourth Duke of Somerset ; and lastly to Henry Hare, Lord Coleraine. She died without issue, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The Duchess gave a notable instance of her regard for the family of Somerset, having by her Will, dated May 17th, 1686, settled in the strictest terms of the law the manors of Powsey and Tilcombe-cum-Oxenwood, and Harding Farm with their appurtenances, in Wiltshire, on the successive Dukes of Somerset, descendants of Edward Seymour, the first Duke. She likewise founded the noble almhouse at Froxfield in the said county for thirty widows not having L20 a year, one half the widows of clergymen, the other of laymen,6 and several other charities existing in great activity to-day, including the well-known Somerset School at Tottenham. A handsome monument of the Duchess Sarah is in Westminster Abbey, where
6 Collin's Peerage (Lond., 1812), Vol. i, p. 183.
(Page v) it is visited yearly by a deputation of the scholars of Tottenham School, who lay on it a simple tribute of flowers to the memory of their foundress and benefactress.
"The actions of the just
Smell sweet and blossom in the dust."
In 1642 a baronetcy was conferred on the Bedfordshire branch of the East Anglian family in the person of Sir Thomas Alston, and in 1681 another baronetcy was conferred on Sir Joseph Alston, of Chelsea. Unfortunately the fate that overtakes most honours sooner or later the want of a male heir has overtaken both dignities. In 1790 the last Odell Baronet died leaving no surviving relative in the male line, Odell Castle and estates having already been alienated by the will of the penultimate baronet. In 1819 the last Chelsea Baronet died, his only son having predeceased him in 1802, leaving three daughters but no male heirs. Claimants to both baronetcies "soi-disant" baronets as "G.E.C." calls them have not been wanting. Admittedly in the case of the Chelsea title there are one or two male descents from the first baronet capable of further exploration. But it is hardly possible that the title is in abeyance. In any case intending claimants are reminded that the honour would be now a very barren one, the Chelsea Alstons having lost most of their territorial consequence a century before the supposed extinction of the title. How it happened that so level headed and prudential folk bred a spendthrift like Sir Evelyn Alston is unaccountable. Circumstances may perhaps explain it, the early deaths of the third and fourth Baronets possibly throwing the estates free from any restrictions of settlements and entails into the hands of the fifth Baronet. But against him and his character too much must not be alleged, for little is known. In Burke's Extinct Baronetage it is recorded that he had sold his properties before 1721 to Sir Peter, afterwards Lord King, but Burke falls into the strange error of confusing him with his son of the same name who died without issue in 1783, After disposing of the bulk of his estates he settled at Reigate and built himself a mansion there, but this he seems also to have parted with. Of him thereafter until his death in 1750 nothing is known except what concerns his intemperance of conduct. Perhaps in his early years dazzled by the sole ownership of a fine estate, and courted for the sake of it, and being of an open-handed and generous disposition, he yielded too much to the fascinations and allurements which beset the youth of the early Georgian era who was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. Another member of the family who attained a certain distinction was Archdeacon Alston, some time Treasurer and Prebendary of St. Paul's. He was a Fellow of Clare Hall, Cambridge, and successively Archdeacon of Middlesex and Essex. A distinguished descendant of the Chelsea baronets was the late Augustus J. C. Hare, the well-known author of the "Memorials of a Quiet Life," "Walks in Rome," and other interesting literary works. It was in his possession that I made the interesting discovery of the " Character Bible " of old Sir Joseph the founder, who mentions it and describes it in his will as being " writt by myne cwne hand." I have traced no connexion between the East Anglian Alstons, those in Scotland, and those in Lancashire although the Scottish Alstons bear the same arms as the East Anglian duly differenced. Not merely in England have the Alstons justified themselves. There have been migrations to the various new lands east and west, affected by the self-reliant and colonising Briton during the past three hundred years, and many a name figuring in my brief record as a name and nothing more, is in all probability that of a forefather of our Alston namesakes and cousins beyond the sea. Reference must here be made to Joseph Alston, the Governor of South Carolina, statesman and millionaire, who married Theodosia, the daughter of Aaron Burr, one of the Vice-Presidents of the United States. He and his wife were conspicuous figures in Burr's romantic schemes, and had it not been for that perverse destiny which makes the best laid schemes of mice and men gang aft agley, the throne of Mexico might have been occupied by descendants of the ancient and knightly house of the Alstons of Great Britain. Burr it will be remembered by those acquainted with this period of American history, had the misfortune to kill his political rival and censor, Alexander Hamilton, in a duel. He was deposed from the vice-presidency and overwhelmed with obloquy, had literally to fly for his life to the west. Meeting there with a rich Englishman named Blennerhassett, he concocted with him the romantic and daring project of seizing the throne of Mexico. As Aaron I. he was to reign over the land of the Aztecs. From the British Government he hoped for concurrence and help. Funds were to be raised from relations and supporters, troops from the adventurous youth of Pennsylvania, South Caroline, Ohio, New York and other neighbouring states. Influenced perhaps by his wife Theodosia, Joseph Alston became a party to his father-in-law's filibustering designs. Theodosia was to be chief lady of the court and rank as an imperial princess, and their son, Aaron Burr Alston was appointed heir presumptive to all his grandfather's chateaux en Espagne. But Burr's rebellious and audacious hopes were dissipated into thin air by the defection of his intended commander-in-chief-General Wilkinson. He had to fly disguised, and was captured, and being put upon his trial at Richmond in 1807 narrowly escaped condemnation. Even when liberated he had to remain in close hiding on account of his unpopularity until he could get away secretly to England. In England he obtained the patronage of the leaders of society and literature by his winning personality, becoming a frequent guest at Holland House and making the acquaintance of Scott in Edinburgh. Subsequently he fell into poverty, and became an object of suspicion to European Governments, and was ostracised by his fellow Americans in Paris. Trouble after trouble came upon him. His grandson Alston the idol of his imperial dreams, his favourite "Gampillo," as he affectionately called him, sickened and died. Worse still, his daughter, bitterly bereaved by the death of her only child and eager to meet her father, after untold effort succeeded in raising the wherewithal to recross the Atlantic, sailed for New York on a Charleston steamer which never found its port. That it was boarded by pirates and that poor Theodosia with other passengers was compelled "to walk the plank" is the tale not verified though widely believed. The uncertainty which clung about her fate caused her father more suffering than if actual details had reached him. Until her father's disgrace Theodosia Alston was a leader of society both in Charleston and New York, renowned as much for the shining qualities of her intellect as for the marked elegance of her manners. With her father's history after her death I have no concern here, but it may not be amiss to (Page vi) mention that resuming the practice of the law he lived down the scandals of his earlier years, and, after recouping his fortune by marrying a rich widow, died respected and honoured at the patriarchal age of four score.7 Another American Alston who achieved renown was Washington Allston, the Royal Academican. Born at Waccamaw in South Carolina in 1779, he graduated at Harvard College in 1800, and entered the schools of the Royal Academy in London soon after. His first work of importance, "The Dead Man Revived," gained a prize of Two Hundred Guineas from the British Institute, and was purchased by the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts. In 1818 he returned to his native country and spent the remainder of his life there. In 1831 he published a poem, "The Sylphs of the Season" and a little later two others. His romance of "Monaldi" which followed these attracted some attention in the literary world and has been dramatised. "With the name of this painter"8 says Tuckerman, speaking of American Art "painting reaching its acme of excellence among us. In genius, character, life, and feeling, he emulated the Italian masters, partook of their spirit, and caught the mellow richness of their tints." Another writer says,9 "the method of Alston was to suppress all the coarser beauties which make up the substance of common pictures. He avoided bright eyes, curls and contours, glancing lights, strong contrasts, and colours too crude for harmony. He reduced his beauty to elements so that an inner beauty might play through her features." Washington Alston died in 1843. He was remarkable also for the use he first made of asphaltum in painting.10
Of the Alstons in Scotland, whom I imagine to be really an off-shoot of the East Anglian family, I can glean but little. Charles Alston, 1663 - 1760, a scientific writer, was born at Eddlewood, and educated at Glasgow. On his father's death the Duchess of Hamilton took him under patronage and wished him to study law, but he preferred to turn his attention to medicine. He went to Leyden to study under Boerhaave, where he made the acquaintance of Dr. Alexander Monro. On the return of the two to Edinburgh they revived the medical lectures in the University, Alston being appointed lecturer in Botany and Materia Medica, and also (1716) superintendent of the Botanical Gardens ; these posts be held until his death, 22nd November, 1760. He was the author of various medical papers., as well as of an index of the plants in the Edinburgh Garden (1740), which is preceded by a Latin introduction to Botany, and of the "Tirocinium Botanicurn Edinburgense" (1753) in which he attacked the Linnaean system of classification. His lectures on Materia Medica were prepared for publication after his death by his friend and successor, Dr. J, H. Hope, and appeared in 4 volumes in 1770. Robert Brown dedicated to him the apocyneous gems, "Alstonia." See also Pulteney's sketches of Progress of Botany (1790), ii, 9-16; also Rees' Cyclopaedia. Edward Richard Alston (1844 - 1881), the eminent zoologist, was born at Stockbriggs, near Lesmahagow, on the 1st December, 1845, and being delicate in youth was chiefly self educated at home. He very early contributed to the Zoologist and various Scottish Magazines, and ultimately became an acknowledged authority on Mammalia and birds. His principal papers on the proceedings of the Zoological Society (1874 - 1880) are upon rodents, especially American Squirrels (1870 and 1879),. The division in Mammalia in Salvin and Godman's " Biologla Centraliwas Americana," was written by him though its publication was incomplete at his death. In 1880 he was elected Zoological Secretary of the Linnaean Society, which office he held till his death from acute phthisis on 7th March, 1881. In 1874 he largely assisted Prof. T. Bell in the second edition of "British Quadrupeds." All his papers are valuable and remarkable for conciseness and lucidity. G. T. Bellamy Obituary notice. Proc. Linn . Sac., 1880-81, 9. 16.
In the course of the four hundred pages that comprise my work many interesting glimpses are to be obtained of the personalities of those who figure therein, of their characters and doings, and of the household life and domestic and local customs of bygone times. The Wills and Chancery Suits are especially rich mines. Of one of the patriarchs of the family, Thomas Alston, we are told that he was commonly known as the "blew devil," because he was "wont to goe cladd in blew cloth" and had a very red face. Of his temper nothing is said, but we can imagine something. Another Thomas is described as "le unthrift," and was imprisoned in the Fleet. Our interest is aroused by the legacies left by Sir Edward Alston, the "Kinge's Phisitian," to the old spectacle woman by Crosby House gate and to the bricklayer who bricked up the vault that preserved the President's goods through the Great Fire. What were the ins and outs, the rights and wrongs of the differences between the last Sir Thomas Alston of Odell and his wife which brought about the end of that family? Old Sir Joseph. the merchant baronet of Chelsea, provided and kept his own coffin in his dwelling house. He transcribed the Bible in character, that is, shorthand, What we are told makes us feel we should like to know more of him and of his first wife, the Dutch woman. One of his daughters married a Clayton of La Vache, a well-known estate in the county of Buckingham. This property was derived by the Claytons from the Fleetwoods, and passed through the Alstons to the Hares. Thus there was a link with Oliver Cromwell, he being a kinsman of the Fleetwoods. Sir Evelyn Alston the elder must have been an interesting character in spite of his faults and failings. We are told by the local chronicler of his chosen place of residence, Reigate, that he used to drive around in a coach and six, preceded by a band! What were the objections of Penning Alston to Edward Skynner as a suitor for his daughter's hand? Were there two Anne Strattons ? Who was Thomas Alston of Chelsea? Was Katherine, the wife of Peter Alston of Bramford, the lady whose maiden name was the malodorous one of Buggs, really so extravagant as her enemies alleged? "Twenty gowns of wrought velvet, tufftaffeta, satin damask, and other stuffs, and petticoats suitable to them all laid very thick with gold and silver lace " certainly sound unfit for her degree, and must have made a sad hole in her husband's money bags. Are we to believe what one deponent said, that Joseph Alston of Loughton feigned madness because he had no money or credit wherewith he might maintain himself ? How long did he abide with Galliard, the (person noted for curing lunatics) ? The suit Wynn v. Alston on page 201 gives us an idea of what it meant being a ward of Chancery in those days.
7 An interesting account of the Burrs and Alstons by Edgar Fawcett with portraits and illustrations, including one of Theodosia Alston, appeared in the Cosmopolitan Magazine for October, 1897, under the title "A Romantic Wrong Doer."
8 Tuckerman's Book of Artists.
9 Alston's Heads, Atlantic Monthly, February, 1865.
10 "The Life and Letters of Washington Allston," by Dr. Flagg. (Bentley, London.)
(page vii) How slack a man of business was Sir Joseph Alston of Bradwell Abbey his law proceedings with his coachmaker show. Was it for this debt that he, the Sheriff of his County, was committed to the Fleet prison? Possibly he began the wastage of the family estate that was completed by his son Sir Evelyn. What exactly were the occupations pharmacopola and pannicularius referred to on page 220, and what a sinister note is that appended in Latin to the burial entry of Elizabeth Alston, May 8, 1609, "Gravida ante nuptias" Alas! frail woman! The interest of such a compilation as mine is of necessity confined principally to those who belong to or are connected with the various Alston families whose pedigrees are set forth in it, and even among those many will probably consider there is a large amount of chaff and little grain. But for myself I confess so consuming a desire to know who and what my ancestors were and how they lived their lives that every fact, however trivial, is of value in my eyes. This account of the Alstons, begun originally to clear away the mistakes and to fill the gaps in the printed pedigrees, has far outgrown its contemplated dimensions. But the task - and the labour has involved the sacrifice of hundreds of leisure hours - has not been without its delights and rewards as it went along. Pleasant friendships have arisen from it, and if those who bear the name Alston, or are descended from Alstons, find in it something inspiring them, from a shame of being worse than their elders were, to strive all their power so that they may become better in some habits, nay, may increase their virtues, my labour will not have been in vain. Finally, I have to thank all my correspondents and helpers in all ranks of life and in all parts of the world, without whose goodwill and assistance the accomplishment of my end would have been impossible. As these pages are about to go to press, Vol. IV. of G. E. C.'s "Complete Baronetage" reaches me. I cannot cite any better testimonial to the thoroughness and accuracy of my researches than Clarenceux's acceptance of my pedigree of the Alston baronets of Chelsea, associated as it is with a note of acknowledgement of my assistance. In an earlier volume (Vol. II), Clarenceux also refers in kind terms to the information supplied by me concerning the Alston baronets of Odell. The Royal Descent of the Chelsea Alstons from Edward I. was also accepted and included by "J. R. S. G. " in bis "Portfolio of Royal Descents," published in 1902.
My recollection is that the Alstons of Thinacre Milne Lanarkshire were supposed to have gone there from England about the 14th century but I never saw any records which dated further back than the 16th ; this was in a book of county families in the neighbourhood of Glasgow. Our crest is an eagle, our motto "In Altum." I have seen
coats of arms with what looked like 10 stars in them in my uncle's house.
Extract from the Rev. Hy. Monteth Alston's letter, 15 March, 1898 (House of the Resurrection, Mirfield)
Alstoniana Pg 374
Manuscript Notes of Professor Charles Alston, born 1685.
Library of Edinburgh University, Scotland
The surname "Alston" is generally believed to be an abbreviation of "Athelstane" , a name well known in Anglo-Saxon History as, Athelstane-ford, Athelstane-muir, now called "Alston ford," "Alston muir", &c. Athel means noble or strong. Alston was of old a proper name among the Saxons, for in 845 there was a Bishop of Sherborne called Alston, who then and some years after, particularly in 853, made a considerable figure. (Vide Rapin Vol v.pp.85,86). The tradition is that the Scotch Alstons came first from England and (as Lord Basil Hamilton says) along with the Hamilton who was the founder of that noble family in Clydesdale, having been his second (in a duel) which obliged them both to leave the English Court. But be in this what will, the oldest family of Alston's I know of in Scotland was that of Cander in the parish of Dalserf and sheriffdom of Lanark. Concerning which the learned antiquary Mr. George Crawford, favourd me with the following memorial, written and subscribed by his own hand, which I have by me. It is entitled: "Memorials of the surname and family of Alston of Cander in Larnarkshire." where of follows "The Alstons were a very ancient and considerable family. They possessed the Estate time out of memory. But that was not all their estate. They had part of the lands and Barony of Cambusbarron, Co. Stirling. There is a Charter the writer of this Memorial has seen, in the custody of the Earls of Wigton, granted by King Robbert III (1399) granting half of the Barony of Cambusbarron to Hugo de Alston, among other witnesses are David, Duke of Rothesay. There is another Hugo de Alston, dominus de Cander who I conjecture was the son of the former Hugh, who died about 1425. For there is a Charter of Mortification granted by Thomas Somervile of Carnwich, of annuity of 20 marks out of his lands of Manuel in Co. Stirling, to sustain a Chaplain in the Church of St. Macutius, i.e. the Priory of Lesmahago "pro animo quondam Hugonis Alston de Cander". It is dated 1425 and confirmed by Charter of King James (1426) in the register of the great seal, in the public archives. He left only 1 daughter, his sole heir, named Margaret. This Margaret was married to John Hamilton of Whistleberry, 2nd son of Sir John Cadzow and brother of James, first Lord of the family of Hamilton. He died in 1454. The author of the "Liber de Culross" takes notice of his death. There is an investiture taken of the Estate of Hamilton by James, 1st Lord Hamilton, in favour of himself and heirs male of his body, and failing those and certain others, to those of the aforesaid John Hamilton of Cander. This Charter is in 1455, in the public registers of the Great Seal. The Hamiltons of Cander came afterwards to change their title to Milburn. A male branch of the old family of Alstons of Cander settled in the Barony of Cadzow and had a small estate there, which they held from the Family of Hamilton." (Thus Mr. Crawford.) Ref: Susan Perrett Tree
SURNAMES OF THE UNITED KINGDOM
A CONCISE ETYMOLOGICAL DICTIONARY
BY HENRY HARRISON
ALSTON (Eng.) l Bel. to Alston [the second
element is the common O.E. tun, estate,
farm, &c.; the first represents an A.-Sax.
pers. name such as JfLelle, JEgel- Mthel-,
JElf-, &r., in the genit. case]
Alston in Staffs was, e.g., A.-Sax.
2 confused with Alstone, q.v.
ALSTON E (Eng.) i Bel. to Alstone [the second
element is the O.E. stdn, a stone, rock,
stone castle; the first represents an A.-Sax.
pers. name such as Mile, Mgel-, Mthel-,
Mlf; &c., in the genit. case]
Alstone in Staffs was, e.g., A.-Sax.
2 The A.-Sax. pers. name Mlfstdn =
ELF-STONE ; E)Alhstdrt = TEMPLE-STONE ;
or JEihelsidn- NOBLE STONE
3 confused with Alston, q.v.
Cresswell in 1905 listed the following persons in possession of Alston Portraits:
Portrait of Sir Rowland Alston, 2 Bart. Col. Cockburn, Norwich.
Portrait of Mrs. Mead. Colonel Lynn, Wickham Market.
Portrait of Lady (Gertrude?) Alston, by Gainsborough. Mrs. Craven, of Brighton, or Charles Craven, Esq.
Portrait of Mr. Isaac Alston, 3rd son of Sir Joseph I Bart. of Chelsea. Rev. F. S. Alston (purchased at sale of
Mr. Strutt's pictures, at Ipswich, Oct. 3rd, 1869).
Miniature of Edward Alston. Mrs. Hannah Katherine Leeder, of Woodton, Norfolk.
Miniature of Sir Rowland Alston. Mrs. Ann Alston (Brooch),
Miniature of Lady Alston. Mrs. Ann Alston (from Lord Hatherley's collection).
Portrart of Charles Alston, D.D. (supposed). Richard Aumack, Esq., Solicitor, Long Melford.
Portrait of Sarah (Alston), Duchess of Somerset. St. John's College, Cambridge (Engravings after it by Vertue).
Portrait of Sarah (Alston) Duchess of Somerset. Rev. E, Constable Alston (from house at Tottenham formerly
belonging to Lord Coleraine, her last husband.
Miniature of Daniel Alston. Mrs. Ann Alston (Locket),
Miniature of Mrs. Daniel Alston (Eliza Freeborn). Mrs. Ann Alston.
Portrait of Rev. E. Constable Alston. Mrs. Ann Alston.
Portrait of Sir Joseph Alston, 1st Bart, of Chelsea (supposed replica). William Alston Head, Esq., East Grinstead
Portrait of Sir Edward Alston, Kt., President of College of Physicians. Augustus J. C. Hare, Esq., St. Leonards.
Alstoniana Pg 301.
Welcome to Stambourne's website
Chapter 3: The People of Stambourne - This site on Stamborne, which borders Toppesfield contains much very early data on Alstan and variants.
An Alston/Alliston village was incorporated into Trimley St Martins in 1362.
Alston Hall still exists and can be seen on Google Maps. In the domesday as Alteinestuna, the name Alston/Alliston must have been attributed at a later date.
Ref: Mark Alliston
John spouse unknown about 1481 in Newton SFK.