This surname recorded in the spellings Bamfield, Bampfield, Banfield and Banfill, is a post medieval English locational name from the parish of Weston-Bampfylde near Castle Cary, in the county of Somerset. The name derives from the pre 7th century Olde English 'bean' as in the vegetables and 'feld', an area of open land cleared for agricultural use. The village was first recorded as Westone in the10856 Domesday Book, and as 'Benefeld' in the pipe rolls of Devonshire in the year 1306. Locational surnames by the very nature were usually granted either to the lord of the manor and his or sometimes her, descendants, or to villagers who moved elsewhere, usually in search of work. It was then, and it often remains so in the 20th century, that the easiest way to identify a person, is to call him or her, by the name of the place or country from which they originate. Early examples of the surname recording include Richard Bampfiled of Exeter in 1581, and John Banfield, who married Betty Nunns in London, in 1766. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Amias Banfilde of Devon. This recording was dated 1575, in the register of Oxford University Register, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st 1558 - 1603. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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