This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is one of the many dialectal variants of Halford, an English locational surname from any of the various places so called: in Devonshire, recorded as "Halford" in the 1275 Hundred Rolls; in Warwickshire, which appears as "Haleford" in 1176 in "Documents preserved in France"; and in Shropshire, appearing as "Hauerford" in 1155 (Index to the Charters and Rolls in the British Museum). The places in Devonshire and Warwickshire are named with the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "halh", a nook or narrow valley, and "ford", a ford, hence a "ford in a halh"; while the place in Shropshire means "hawker's ford", from the Olde English "hafoc", hawk, with ford as before. Locational surnames were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had settled elsewhere, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace, and regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced variants on the original name. In the modern idiom, the surname from Halford can be found as Halford, Hawford, Hafford, Howford, Hofford and Hoffard. Early recordings of the name include the christening of Thomas, son of Richard Howforde, at Leigh in Gloucestershire, on October 20th 1575, and the marriage of Jane Howford and Robert Minchin on November 23rd 1579, at Castle Eaton, Wiltshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Howford, which was dated January 20th 1542, marriage to Agnes Barne, at Longdon, Worcestershire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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