Recorded as Balfield, Belfield, Bellfield, Bellefield, Bielfelde, Bielfield, and apparently Belderfield, although this latter form is not an early spelling, this is a northern English surname. It is locational from the two villages called Belfield in the counties of Westmoreland and Lancashire. The place name and hence the later surname derives from bel - felda meaning an open area of fine land, suitable for agriculture. Surprisingly the Oxford dictionary of English Place Names does not include the Belfield villages, nor do any of the surname dictionaries except Black's Surnames of Scotland. This dictionary however then fails to give any examples of the surname in Scotland, but claims that there are some twenty Bel(l)field villages in the British Isles, which is clearly wrong! Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers from the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st (1558 - 1603) include Annis Belfeild. She was the daughter of Thomas Belfeild and was christened at St Stephen Walbrook in the city of London, on December 3rd 1557, whilst Samuel Belfield christened at St Peters Sheffield, Yorkshire, on September 3rd 1564. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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