This is an English locational surname. It originates from the village of Nesfield with Langbar, a parish of some one hundred and sixty inhabitants, in the West Riding of Yorkshire,and about three miles from the town of Ilkley. In most parts of the British Isles and not just Scotland, the words 'nes or ness' would normally indicate either a headland or a lake of some sort, but in this case we have something different. In the famous Domesday Book of 1086, the spelling of the village name is given as 'Nacefeld' which is a fused form of the Olde English pre 7th century 'neates-feld' meaning an area of grass land for the grazing of the 'neats'. This was an early word for cattle,and included all grazing animals including horses and even sheep, whilst a feld was not a field as we know it with fences, but almost the opposite, being open land in a forest. The surname which at various times has been recorded as Neshfeld, Nesfeild, Nesfield, Nessfield, Nestfield, and others, is widely recorded in its home county of Yorkshire. Early examples taken from surviving church registers include Anne Nesfeld, the daughter of John Nesfeld, who was christened at Gargrave near Skipton on January 8th 1562, and John Nesfield whose exotically named daughter Callastines, was christened at St Johns church, Ousebridge, in the city of York, on May 7th 1657.
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