This English locational surname originates from either of the two villages called Denford in the counties of Northamptonshire and Berkshire, although more specifically the former. The name 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. The first recording of the place name is that for the Berkshire site in the Saxon Rolls of the year 678, whilst the Northants village is recorded as "Deneforde" in the famous Domesday Book of the year 1086. The surname is locational, and as such was originally given 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 these people, unless they had specific trades, would often be called by the name of their former village, as an easy method of identification. As a result locational surnames are often found many miles from their place of origin. In this case 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 known as "Testa de Neville", in the year 1273. Later recordings refer to Walter de Deneford, also, of Northampton, and in 1293 to Sarra de Denford, the first to have the "modern" name spelling. This was in the register known as "Placita de quo Warranto" during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307.
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