Recorded in a number of spellings including Barfield, Baerfield, Bearfield, and Burfield, this is an English surname, but ones whose roots may have been lost. It is locational and as shown below, well recorded in the surviving early registers of the diocese of Greater London from the mid 16th century. This was a period which saw great changes in the British countryside with the onset of the earliest industrial revolution, and the conversion of lands to sheep farming. As a result some five thousand villages 'disappeared' between the year 1550 and 1750, and today only the surviving surname remains to remind us of their existence. We believe that this is one of them, although a hamlet called Barfield does exist in the Lake District, near Ravensglass, and there was a village called Burfield in Shropshire. In either case the meaning of the name is probably 'an area of land (feld) fenced for agriculture (bar). Examples of early recordings include: John Burfield, whose daughter Elizabeth was christened at St Brides church, Fleet Street, on October 16th 1596, Roger Baryfld, who married Anne Bennet at St Michael Bassishaw, on November 19th 1604, and Dorothie Barfield, who married Edmund Child at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 15th 1629. The first recorded spelling of the family name may be that of Thomas Bowrefeild. This was dated November 17th 1566, at St Pancras church, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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