This interesting surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, is a topographical name for someone who lived on land which had been cleared of forest, but not brought into cultivation, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "feld" meaning "pasture", "open country". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below). Further recordings include one Hugo de la Felde (1188) the Pipe Rolls of Bedfordshire, John del Feld (1190) Suffolk, the Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds, and James atte Felde (1296), the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Fyeld, Feild, Fields, de la Feld and Delafield. London Church Recordings include one George Henrick, who married Margarett Feilde at St. Martin Orgar and St. Clement Eastcheap, on June 6th 1546, and William Field, who married Agnes Smith on October 10th 1586, in Stepney. An interesting namebearer was Nathaniel Field (1587 - 1633), actor and dramatist, who acted in plays by Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. His name was made synonymous with "best actor" in Jonson's "Bartholomew Fair" (1614). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Felde which was dated 1185, in the "Knights Templars Records of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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