This is a locational surname of very early English origins. Recorded in the (modern) spellings of Driffield and Driffill it originates from either the two parishes called Driffield in the East Riding of Yorkshire, or from a parish of the same name in the county of Glocester in the West Country. The Yorkshire villages were recorded as early as the year 705 a.d in the spelling of Driffelda, whilst the Gloucester village is first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 in the spelling of 'Drifelle' an indication as to where the surname of Driffill originates from. However spelt the name means the same, which is literally ' the area (felda) improved with drit' (manure), a good example of how names originate from simple sources. Nethertheless as most agricultural areas would have been improved with regular applications of 'drit', it seems somewhat surprising that just two areas in the entire country should be singled out as being worthy of being called the name. Locational surnames were usually 'from' names. This is to say that they were given to people who came from a particular place, even if this was the next village, the easiest form of identification being to call a stranger by the name of the place from where he came. In this case early examples of the surname recording include examples such as: Thomas de Driffield of Oxford in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, and Hugh de Driffield of Yorkshire, in the same year. Johannes de Dryffeld also of York is recorded in the Poll Tax rolls of the year 1379, and as an example of church recordings and unsual spelling, Hester Driffeild married Rauley Ratford at St James Clerkenwell, London, in 1669.
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