This interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational surname that may derive either from the place called 'Catford' in Kent, now in South East London, or from 'Catforth', a village near the town of Preston in Lancashire. The place in Kent is recorded in 1311 as 'Cateforde' and as 'Catford' in 1331, while 'Catforth' in Lancashire is recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of that county of 1332 as 'Catford'. Both place share the same meaning and derivation, which is 'the wild cat ford', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word 'catt', (wild) cat, with 'ford', ford. The slight change of 'ford' to 'forth' in 'Catforth' is a common one in placename developments since the Middle Ages. One Jone Catteford was married to John Bevis at St. Gregory's by St. Paul, London, on the 15th February 1635, and John Catford was christened at St. Andrew's, Holborn, in February 1682. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicolas Cattforth, (marriage to Isabel Wilcok), which was dated 30th July 1564, Kirkham, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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