Recorded in the modern spellings of Bayfield, Bewfield, and Boyfield, this is an English locational surname. It probably originates from the village of Bayfield in Norfolk, a place first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1068 as "Baiafelda" and later in 1180 as Baifeld. The precise meaning is open to interpretation. It may be "Baga's field", as Baga was a personal name of Olde English pre 7th century origins, or it could derive from "beg" meaning berries. A feld, although translated as a field, was not a field as we know it, but a large expanse of land suitable for farming. It seems likely that in the late middle ages, Bayfield, the village, was "cleared" of its inhabitants to allow sheep farming to take place. Under the iniquitous Enclosure Acts of "Merry England", a landowner was allowed to seize the common grazing, and to enclose it. When this happened the tenants had no recourse but to leave. Most headed for London, and there the survivors usually adopted or were given, as their surname, the name of their former home. Early examples of the surname recordings include Gregorie Bayfield, who married Elizabeth Hales at St Botolphs without Aldgate on May 10th 1599. However by 1604 he was known as Boyfield, and it may be from him that this spelling arises. The earliest known church recording is believed to be that of Thomas Baifeild, recorded at the church of St Thomas le Stocks, City of London, on February 1st 1560. This was in the reign of Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603.
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