This interesting surname is recorded in many forms as shown below, and can have either or possibly both, an English and a Norman-French origin. The recorded spellings include Compfort, Compford, Comford, and Comport, believed to be from the Medieval English word 'comfort' and Confait, Confort, Coniforth and Conford, from the pre 11th century Old French words 'cunfort or confort'. In all cases the meaning is the same being encouragement, aid, or support. As such it would have been given as a personal nickname to one who was a source of strength and support, or perhaps, given the robust Chaucerian humour of the period, the complete reverse! Early examples of the surname recording include Richard Cumfort in the Hundred Rolls of the landowners of Oxfordshire, in 1273, and Richard Counfort in the Calendar of Pleas for the city of London in 1375.The spellings as Comford and Compford, recorded in the early church registers of Kent and London, have given rise to an unproven theory that, in some instances, the name may be locational from a now 'lost' place possibly called Compford. If so this is probably from the Old English "camp", meaning a field, and "ford", a shallow river crossing. Another theory is that for some, the surname was a reintroduction into England by French Huguenot refugees in the 18th century, and this is also possible. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Cumfort. This was dated 1269, in the Assize Court Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 111rd of England, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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