This is a locational name well recorded in the London area from the mid 16th Century. It derives from the village of Fyfield in Berkshire, a place recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of 956, A.D. in the reign of King Edwy (955-959) as "aet fif hidum" and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Fivehide". This latter spelling gives the true origin and meaning "A place of five hides", this being the normal estate of a then, equivalent in status to the later Norman Knight. A "hide" was itself adequate for the support of one "free" family, and varied from fifteen to thirty acres. The "modern" village spelling is circa 1500. The surname recordings include Robert Fifield, who was a witness at St. Giles Cripplegate on March 24th 1638, in the reign of Charles 1, known as "The Martyr", 1625-1649. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ann Fifeld, which was dated October 18th 1575, christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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