This is a locational surname from the village of Lilford near Oundle in the county of Northamptonshire. The village also gives its name to the barony of Lilford. The origin is Olde English and the translation is 'Lilla's ford', with 'Lilla' being a personal name, meaning 'the lily'. This suggests that the more logical explanation is 'the ford by the lilies' or possibly as there was a tribe in the area called the 'Lillingas', it may derive from them. What is certain is that the origins are ancient, probably dating back to the 7th century a.d. or even earlier, although the surname recordings are late medieval. This indicates that the village may have been 'cleared' in the 16th century under the Enclosure Acts legislation. As a result many tenants would have been forced off the common lands. When this happend the former villagers would take as their surname the name of their former home. They would also set off to London. A few name recordings do exist in Northamptonshire, but most early examples of the church recordings are in London. These include John Lilfourd who married Anne Nichols at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East on February 13th 1650, and Isabella Lillford who married George Buttry at the church of St Mary Le Strand, London, on June 8th 1788. The coat of arms has the blazon of a gold field, charged with a lions leg in bend dexter between two cross crosslets fitchee in bend sinister. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Lilford, which was dated May 22nd 1619, married Anne Sharman at Stanwick, Northants, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1587 - 1625. 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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