This interesting surname is of English locational origin either from Lichfield, south east of Stafford in Staffordshire, or from Litchfield in Hampshire. The former place, first recorded as Letocetum in the Romano-British period, and as Liccedfeld circa 890 in "the Old English version of Bede's 'Historia ecclesiastica'", was so called from the British (pre-Roman) "Letoceton" meaning "grey wood". By the Old English period this had been reduced to Licced, and the element "feld", pasture or open country, was added; hence, "open land in Licced forest". The latter place, recorded as Liveselle in the Domesday Book was originally named with the Old English pre 7th Century "Hlifgesella" from "hlif", shelter, and "scylf", shelf or ledge, later changed to "hlith", slope, plus "feld", open country. On December 12th 1544 Felyppa Lytchfeld, an infant, was christened in St. Stephen Coleman Street, London. An interesting namebearer was Harriett Litchfield, (nee Hay), actress at Covent Garden from 1797 to 1812. Her best part was as Emilia in "Othello". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Lychfeld, which was dated 1450, in the "Oxford University Register", during the reign of King Henry V1, known as "The Founder of Eton", 1422 - 1461. 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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