This name is of English locational origin from Cornforth, a town in the parish of Bishop's Middleham, Co. Durham. The name is derived from the old English pre 7th Century "corn", a transposed form of cron of cran, a crane and "ford" a ford which is a shallow place in a river; hence "a ford which is frequented by cranes". Corneford first appears as a placename in the mid 13th Century. Other early recordings of the surname include Michael de Cornford in the Coroners Rolls of London (1339), William Cornefurth in the register of the Freemen of the City of York (1469), and Richard Corneforth, from Cornford, witness, The Fine Court Rolls of Durham (1514). On June 1st 1561, Thomas Cornforth was christened in Witton le Wear, Durham, and on December 21st 1562, Elizabeth Cornforth was christened in St. Andrew's, Aukland, Durham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas de Corneford, witness, which was dated 1242, in the "Assize Rolls of Durham", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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