English (mainly Newcastle and Durham): of uncertain origin, probably a derivative of northern Middle English stang ‘pole’ (of Old Norse origin). Possible meanings include a topographic name for someone who lived by a pole or stake (compare Stakes) or an occupational name for someone armed with one. Alternatively, it may be a nickname for someone who had ‘ridden the stang’, i.e. been carried on a pole through the streets as an object of derision, in punishment for some misdemeanor. However, this custom is of uncertain antiquity.