This name, with variant spellings Cundliffe, Con(d)liffe, Cunnliffe and Cownliffe, is of English locational origin from a place called Cunliffe near Rishton in Lancashire. The name was first recorded as Kunteclive in the 1246 Pipe Rolls of that county and later as Cundcliff. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'cund' meaning a 'cleft', plus 'clif', a slope. Hence, 'a slope with small valley or gorge in it'. The surname from this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century. On August 9th 1685 the following entry appears in the Baptismal Register of St. Dunstan's in the East, London:- "Benjamin, son of John and Mary Conliffe or Condliffe, christened". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Cundeclif, or Cunteclif, which was dated 1273 - The Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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