This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is locational from a place called Mudford, a village three miles north-east of Yeovil, Somerset. The placename is recorded as "Mudiford" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mud", meaning mud, and "ford", a ford; hence, "muddy ford". Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and other early recordings include Edmund de Muleford and Richard de Muleford, recorded in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire (1273). In the modern idiom the surname can be found recorded as Mulford, Mullford and Mulforde. Recordings of the surname from the London Church Registers include: the christening of Walter Mulford on June 30th 1583, at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney; the christening of John, son of John Mulforde, on June 29th 1584, at St. Botolph without Aldgate; and the marriage of Francis Mulford and Hugh Richards in April 1650, at St. Katherine by the Tower. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Mullford, which was dated 1272, in "Testa de Neville", Wiltshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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