Last name: Mayfield

This is a medieval English locational surname. It probably originates from either the village of Mayfield in the county of Staffordshire, first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Medevelde, and later in 1180 as Matherfelde, or from the village of Mayfield in Sussex first recorded as Magefeud in 1199. In both cases the meaning is probably the same, the derivation being from the pre 7th Century Olde English word "moeddre" meaning madder, a plant whose root was used for making a red or purple dye, although it is possible that the Sussex village has a slightly different origin. If so it is from the word "maegbe" meaning the Mayweed. Both second elements derive from the word "feld", which means not so much a field, but an open area of countryside, which had been cleared for agriculture. The surname is apparently quite popular in Nottinghamshire, and research suggests that there may once have been a now "lost" medieval village of the same name in that county. Early examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church records of the Elizabethan period include those of Elizabeth Mayfeeld, who was married at the church of St Mary Aldermary, in the city of London, in 1542, and Dorithy Mayfield, who married John Whyte at Cropwell Bishop in Nottinghamshire in 1580. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

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