Recorded in a variety of spellings including Mockford, Mogford, Mufford and Mugford, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from a 'lost' medieval village possibly in Devonshire. The surname is one of the estimated five thousand surnames of the British Isles which do orignate from a place which long ago disappeared from the maps of Britain, if indeed it was were ever on them. The 'lost' village phenomenon results from various causes. Perhaps the best documentated has been the closure of Common Lands, to make way for sheep pastures, along with perhaps surprisingly, drainage of the low lands, as well as the various great plagues such as the Black Death of 1348, which have played their own parts. The place name and hence the later surname is believed to be from the pre 7th century personal name Mogga, and forda, a shallow river crossing. Early examples of the surname recordings include Cryston Muforde, a christening witness at St Martins Ludgate in the city of London, on December 4th 1552, William Mugford who was christened at Hartland, Devonshire, on November 27th 1562, Henry Mogford who married Elizabeth Rummer at St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on November 13th 1748, and George Mockford, christened at St Olaves Southwark, London, on February 9th 1766. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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