Recorded as Danford, Danforth, Denford and Denforth, this is an English locational surname. It originates from either of the two villages called Denford in the counties of Northamptonshire and Berkshire, or Danesford in the county of Shropshire. The name probably means the "ford in the valley" from the pre 7th century words "denu", a dean or valley, and "forda", a shallow river crossing with a firm bed, although the Danes ford is also possible, indicating an area under Danish Viking control. The first recording is orf Denford in Berkshire in the Saxon Rolls of the year 678, the Northants village is recorded in the famous Domesday Book of the year 1086 as is the Shropshire village. The surname was given firstly to the lord of the manor and his successors, and later to former villagers who moved elsewhere usually in the late Medieval Period, to seek employment. When this happened, people unless they had specific trades, would often be called by the name of their former village, as an easy method of identification. As the village in Northamptonshire was manorial, the first recordings refer to the manorial family, and this may suggest that the majority of the later nameholders are probably descendants of this man, Roger de Denneford. He is first recorded in the rolls "Testa de Neville", in the year 1273. Later recordings refer to Walter de Deneford, of Northampton, in 1293 to Sarra de Danford, in the register "Placita de quo Warranto" during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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