Recorded as Beckford and Bickford, this is an ancient English surname. It is locational from Beckford, a parish in the county of Gloucestershire, near the town of Tewksbury. According to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place Names the place name means Becca's ford, from a pre 7th century personal name of unknown etymology, Becca, Bicca or Beocca, a short form of which appears in numerous English place names. Certainly whatever the meaning, the place itself is one of the earliest for which written records exist, it appearing as Beccanforda in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 803 a.d.. The surname being locational would usually be a "from" name. That is a name given as easy identification to a person who left his, or sometimes her, village, to move somewhere else. The alternative which may apply here, is when a nameholder was also the lord of the manor. In this case the first recorded nameholder was known as Prior de Bekeford. Whether Prior was his title or his personal name is not known for certain. He appears in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Gloucester in 1273, as does Henry de Beckeford also of Gloucestershire, whilst Alex de Bikeford also appears in the Hundred Roll of 1273, but for the county of Staffordshire. Thse recordings were in the first year of the reign of King Edward 1st, (1273 - 1307), and known to history as "The hammer of the Scots", and pretty well everybody else!
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