Recorded in several forms including Moddicliffe, Moodycliffe, Muddicliffe and Muddicliffe, this very interesting surname is English. It originates from some "lost" medieval hamlet called apparently in the pre 7th century Olde English "muddi-clif" meaning muddy slope, rather than the modern meaning of a cliff face. In a period of history when almost everywhere suffered from "mud" to a greater or lesser degree, this village must have been very muddy indeed to have justified being so called. As to where it was situated, we have not been able to ascertain. "Lost" medieval villages are a feature of the surnames of the British Isles, and it is estimated that over three thousand surnames do originate from this source. As to why villages "disappeared" is a broad subject, but in general it can be put down to changes in farming practice, the great plagues, and the fact that most house were simply wattle shacks with a life of only forty years. With this surname we know that at the end of the Elizabethan period one Henry Muddicliff also recorded as Henry Moddicliffe, appears in the church register of St Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London. The first such recording was on April 4th 1600 when his son also called Henry was christened, whilst a daughter called Mary was christened on December 13th 1601.
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