First recorded in Kent as Esterfield, the name changed to the modern spelling in the 17th century, the first appearance being in 1594 when Robert Easterfield was christened at Tonbridge, which seems to be the general area of origin. The name is locational and translates as 'one resident at the east field', from the Olde English pre 7th century 'Esta-felda'. However, if such a place as Estfield or Eastfield existed, there does not appear to be any record. In the period after the Black Death in 1348 to c 1550, some seven thousand Hamlet-villages became completely extinct, Esterfield may be one of them. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Esterfield. which was dated 1567 (married) Dennis Stage at Tonbridge. during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I 'Good Queen Bess' 1558-1603 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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