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Unstead One – Name Study


About the study

My name is Dennis Sullivan and I began researching my family history in the mid -1970's.

Some years later I became interested in name origins and decided to register the name UNSTEAD with the Guild of One-Name Studies.
In essence, ONS's are about collecting and analysing information relating to one surname or its variant wherever it is found.

The surname Unstead is an unusual one. Seldom if ever can it be found in a book of surnames and is thought to be of Anglo - Saxon origin.

A Wikipedia article on Godalming suggests that Catteshall to the east of Godalming civil parish was formerly a hamlet between the town of Godalming and the villages of Unstead or Unsted and Thorncombe Street, Guildford.

Although no record of an Unstead place name appears in the Doomsday Book, reference can be found today, to Unstead Manor which is a grade ll listed building situated within the parish of Shalford, Surrey.

Both Unstead Lock on the River Wey and Unstead Woods are to be found in close proximity and a Unstead Lane address can also be found in nearby Guildford.

Some variations of the name include: Hunsted, Unsted – without the 'a', Unsteed, Unstedd, Ounstead, Ounstep from the family name Ovenstede – later Ownstead recorded in the year 1332.
Although I am primarily researching Unstead I do have more variants in my collection.

My own interest in the name started with my maternal grandmother who was Maria Frances Unstead born in London in March 1883.

According to the FamilySearch website, the earliest Unstead / Unsted surname is that of John Unsted christened in Eastbourne on 12th April 1594.

Records link Unstead's to East Sussex, Essex, Kent, London, Nottingham, Rotherham, South Yorkshire and Surrey

UNSTEAD U.K. BIRTHS 1839 - 1900

EAST SUSSEX Battle = 1 Hailsham = 1 Lewes = 45 Uckfield =27 TOTAL 74

ESSEX Tendering = 4

KENT Bromley = 2 Tunbridge Wells = 1


TOTAL 1 East Retford = 1

SOUTH YORKSHIRE Rotherham = 11

SURREY Croydon = 13 Reigate = 10


Bethnal Green = 11

Clerkenwell= 1

East London = 1

Edmonton = 1

Hackney = 9

Holborn = 9

Islington = 8

Kensington = 1

Lambeth/South = 1

Central London = 1

Mile End = 5

Poplar = 1

St. Georges in The East = 1

St. Luke's = 5

St. Pancras = 2

St. Saviour = 2

Stepney = 1

Unstead's are listed in several states of America including Arizona, Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina.
Other parts of the world populated with Unstead's include Australia & New Zealand.

Notable Unstead's found to date include:

Robert John Unstead ( 1915 –1988)

British historian and prolific author born in Deal Kent 21st November 1915.
R. J. Unstead was particularly well known for his illustrated history books for young readers.
He died 5th May 1988. See more at

Jack Unstead (1926 – 1962)

Noted Exeter & England speedway rider who also famously rode for The Bristol Bulldogs, The Ipswich Witches, The Poole Pirates, and The Rayleigh Rockets.
Ex - policeman Jack was tragically killed at Ipswich Stadium on Friday 13th April 1962 after clipping an opponent's back wheel when cornering.
Having lost control of his bike he was thrown onto a track-side solid wooden fence which resulted in his death.

John Unstead ( 1790 – 1872)

A noted cricketer who played for Kent. Born in Waldron, Sussex, England 9th February 1790. He died in Waldron 22nd October 1872 aged 82.

This page is still being developed.
If you have any additional information you think I could use please contact me at my guild email address and I’ll contact you at the earliest opportunity.

Thank you for visiting my profile page.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you think I may be able to help you with your own research.