This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Lyford' in West Hannay, near Wantage in Berkshire. The placename was recorded in 'Saxon Charters' of 940 as 'Linfordinga', in 944 as 'Linforda', and in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Linford'. It does not lose the 'n' and become 'Liford' until the beginning of the 12th Century. The meaning of the placename is 'ford where flax grew', derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century word 'lin', flax, with 'ford', ford. Locational surnames were usually given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants who moved to live or work in another area. One William Lyford of Berkshire was recorded in the University of Oxford's Register for 1615, and John Morton was married to Mary Lyford in Canterbury, Kent, in 1661. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Lyford, which was dated 1273, The Oxfordshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward I, The Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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