This interesting and noble name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from Beresford in the parish of Alstonfield, North Staffordshire, or from Burford (originally Berford) in 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 appears the name of Sir Symon Bereford of Warwickshire in the Ashmole Roll of 1322. The coat of arms which he bore at thje battle of Boroughbridge, Yorkshire, in that year has the blazon of a silver field, crusilly, three black fleur-de-lis, implying a victory over the French. It is said 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". Variant spellings of the name include Bereford, Berresford, Berisford, Beresfore, Beresford and Berrisford. Among the recordings from church registers are the christening of George, son of Lawrence Beresfore, on April 22nd 1543, at Alstonfield, and the marriage of John Beresford and Anne Flucket on July 3rd 1609, at Alstonfield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Beversford, which was dated 1220, in "Old Staffordshire Records", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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