Last name: Afield

Recorded in various spellings including Afield, Haffield, Hayfield, Heafield and Heyfield, this is an English locational surname. It almost certainly derives from the two places called Hayfield, in the county of Derbyshire, although there is a possibility that some nameholders at least may originate from a now "lost" medieval site somewhere in the south of England. The place name is first recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book at "Hedfeld". This means the open grass land. The surname is well recorded in Derbyshire, although many early recordings are to found in the London church registers. This suggests that the first of the name holders, may well have been people who were forced out of their original homes by the iniquitous Enclosure Acts of the 14th and 15th centuries. Under these acts local landlords were empowered to "enclose" the common grazing lands, and by this legalised robbery tenants had no choice, but to leave to seek homes elsewhere. The easiest method of identification was to call strangers by the name of the place from whence they came, a system which still applies in the 20th century. Early examples of the surname recording include John Haffeld, at the church of St Hallows, London Wall, on February 18th 1572, and Robert Haffield, in the register of St Andrew's by the Wardrobe, city of London, on May 8th 1588. Other examples are those of John Heyfield, at Stretton-en-le-Field, Derbyshire, on May 26th 1682, and George Hayfield, at Willesley, Derbyshire, on October 8th 1693. The earliest known church recording may be that of Ann Afield, who married Raph Marledge, at Breadsall, Derbyshire on May 17th 1576. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603.

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