This is an English medieval surname, which almost certainly originates from a now 'lost' village. The development of surnames from lost villages is a feature of surnames of the British Isles, and it is estimated that as many as five thousand may derive from this source. Hardly had the society recovered from the great plagues of the Middle Ages, when they were followed by the rapid growth of the textile industry, and in consequence the introduction of sheep farming on a large scale. Sheep farming required many fewer workers than arable farming, and this in turn lead to almost a mass closure of many small villages. When this happened the residents left taking, or being given as their surnames, the name of their former home, since one of the easiest ways of identifying a stranger was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic, and local accents very thick, lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case there is no such known place as Goodfield nor the adjacent spelling of Goodford, although both are logical. Curiously most surnames commencing with the prefix of 'good' were originally nicknames such as Goodfellow or Goodbody. Early examples of the surname recordings include: Mary Goodford, the daughter of William Goodford, christened at St Nicholas church, Cole Abbey, city of London, on April 1st 1696, Deborah Goodfield, who married Thomas Tague at the same place, on December 2nd 1707, and John Goodfield, who married Elizabeth Gardner at Bisley in Gloucestershire, on May 5th 1837.
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