Recorded as Knifton, Kniveton, Knyfton, Knyveton, and others, this is an English surname of great antiquity. It originates from the village of Kniveton, given as being a parish in the county of Derbyshire, near the town of Ashbourne. The name means 'The settlement (tun) of Cenigifu', the latter being a fairly popular Olde English female name which occurs in several places. These include Knayton in the county of North Yorkshire and Kneeton in Nottinghamshire. As we know from the exploits of Queen Boadacia, the 'ladies' were far from backward in coming forward. It may even be that their initial success against the all-conquering Roman army, was to lead to the later restriction on the roll of women in society, particularly outside of the home. This surname is first recorded in the Curia Regis rolls of the twentieth year of the reign of King Edward 111rd (1327 - 1377) when John de Knyveton is given as being a substantial landowner in the county of Derbyshire, and lord of the manor of Kniveton. Later recordings include Gilbert Kniveton in the register of students at Oxford University in 1605, and Thomas Knifton who married Katherine Swetbury at Prestbury in Cheshire, in 1633.
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