Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is a famous English surname of great antiquity and nobility. It is locational from the village of Beresford in the parish of Alstonfield, North Staffordshire, or perhaps in some cases from Burford (originally Berford), in the county of Oxfordshire. The placenames are derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century words "beofor", meaning beaver, plus "forda", a shallow river crossing. The surname had clearly emerged by the 13th Century (see below), and in the earliest of the ancient heraldic rolls, the Ashmole roll of 1322, there appears the name of Sir Symon Bereford of Warwickshire. The coat of arms which he bore at the battle of Boroughbridge, in Yorkshire, in that year has the blazon of a silver field, charged with a bear proper collared and chained gold. However it is claimed that all namebearers are descended from Thomas Beresford, who fought at the battle of Agincourt, in France in 1415. This is a romantic story, but not one that can be treated with any seriousness. An Irish branch of the family include the Marquess of Waterford, and this branch was to inspire several entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography". Known spellings of the name include Bereford, Berresford, Berisford, Beresfore, Beresford, and Berrisford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Beversford. This was dated 1220, in the ancient rolls of Staffordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272.
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