This surname with variant spellings Armfeeld, Armfeild, Armfild, Armefeild, Armfield, etc., is of English locational origin from one of the seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The original place is believed to have been in Yorkshire. The component elements are the Old English pre 7th Century "earm" meaning "wretched", perhaps in the sense "outlawed", plus "feld" "open Country", "plain", hence the plain of the outlaws. Church records include one Alice Armfield who married John Radcliffe on October 2nd 1562, in Rotherham, Yorkshire, and Thomas Armefeld married Ursula Hubbard on September 17th 1588, also at Rotherham. John Armefeild was christened on September 10th 1625, at St. Andrew, Holborn, and Ralph Armfield married Ann Capill at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, on September 8th 1695. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Helen Armfield married Nicholas Broadbent, which was dated 1561, Sheffield, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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