This interesting name is of medieval English origin and is either a topographical name for someone who lived on or near a field with clay soil, or a locational name from a place called "Clayfolds" near Aberdeen, Scotland. The derivation is from the old English pre 7th Century "claeg", clay, and "feld", open country. During the Middle Ages, when it was becoming increasingly common for people to migrate from their birth place to seek work elsewhere, they would often adopt the name of the village as a means of identification. Amongst the recorded examples are Mary Clayfield, the daughter of Josiah and Margaret Clayfield, who was christened on June 12th 1630 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mary Clefyld, which was dated January 6th 1582, Harrow-on-the-Hill, 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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