This is an English locational surname. It originates from the Essex villages called Great Canfield and Little Canfield. It is claimed that the derivation is from the Norman village of Canville Les Deux Eglises, in the Department of Seine Inferieure, however whilst this is very possible, the more likely explanation is from the Olde English pre 7th century word "cain" meaning pleasant, and "felda", an area of ground cleared for agriculture. The surname is recorded in the spellings of Canfield, Cansfield, Caufield, Cempfield and possibly Canwell, although that seems far off the beam. Early examples of the surname recordings include John Kanfylde, who was married at St Margrets church, Westminster in 1542, and Benedict Caufield 1563 - 1611, who was a Capuchin Friar imprisoned in the Tower of London for three years from 1598 to 1601, and lucky to escape with his life. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de Camvilla, which was dated 1148, in the charters known as the "Pipe Rolls" of the city of Oxford. This was during the reign of King Stephen, known as Stephen of Blois, from Blois in France, where he was born. He reigned from 1135 to 1154. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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