This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a parish and village called Arncliffe in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Recorded as "Arneclif" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Erneclive" in the 1223 Feet of Fines for Yorkshire, the component elements of the placename are the Olde English pre 7th Century "earna", eagle's, and "clif", clif; hence the meaning "Eagle's cliff", and not "Ant cliff" as the modern form suggests. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently gave rise to several variations on the original spelling, which in the modern idiom is found as Antcliff, Antcliffe, Antliff(e) and Ancliff(e). One Thomas Arneclyff was recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. On October 8th 1661, the birth of Jane Antcliffe was recorded at Sturton cum Fenton, Nottinghamshire, and on May 7th 1721, Mary, daughter of Phillip and Mary Antcliffe, was christened at All Hallows, Staining, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Arnecliv, which was dated 1207, in the "Curia Regis Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as 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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