Last name: Armfield

Recorded in a number of spellings including Armfield, Armfeeld, Armfeild, Armfild, and Armefeild, this surname is English. It is of locational origin from a place which was probably spelt "Earm-feld" or similar, and would it seem to be one of the many "lost" medieval villages of Britain. Nobody is quite sure how many villages disappeared over the past five hundred years, but it is known to be several thousand. There were several causes for these "disappearances" including urbanisation where villages have been swallowed up by the encroaching towns and cities, enforced clearing and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures particularly at the height of the wool trade in the 18th century, whilst natural causes such as the plage called the Black Death of 1348, and the Bubonic Plagiue of 1665 also played their part. The original site is believed to have been in the county of Yorkshire, and the name appears to have the unusual meaning of "The lands of the outlaws", from the Old English words "earm" meaning wretched, but used in the sense of outlaws, or people dispossed, and "feld" which in the original sense described open country. Early examples of church recordings Alice Armfield who married John Radcliffe on October 2nd 1562, at Rotherham, in Yorkshire, and Thomas Armefeld who married Ursula Hubbard on September 17th 1588, also at Rotherham. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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