This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from any one of the various places in Devonshire, Somerset, Staffordshire and East Yorkshire called Fulford. The place in Devonshire is recorded as "Foleford" in the Domesday Book of 1086, that in Somerset in its Latin form of "sordidum vadum" in the Saxon Chronicles of 854, Fulford in Staffordshire as "Fuleford" in the Domesday Book, and Gate and Water Fulford in East Yorkshire as "Fuleford" in the Domesday Book. All of these places share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the dirty ford", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ful", foul, dirty, with "ford", ford. Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. A number of bearers of the name Fulford are descended from the William de Fulford cited below, who held the manor of Great Fulford near Exeter. Early recordings of the name include Robert de Fulfort (1219, Yorkshire), Richard de Fulford (1280, Worcestershire), and Thomas Fuleford (1327, Sussex). One John Fulford was an early emigrant to the New World colonies, leaving London on the "Mathew" for St. Christopher's in May 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Fulford, which was dated circa 1190, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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