Afew names are wholly locational and regionalised, but this is one of them. Found in the spellings Northcliffe, Norcliff, Norcliffe, and Nortcliffe, this surname was originally recorded only in the West Riding of Yorkshire. In fact it was specific to a 'North Cliff' area between the towns of Huddersfield and Halifax. No such site is recorded in the 'lost' medieval village lists, of the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments. However with some five thousand such sites, today only identified by the modern surname, this is not in itself unusual.The surname certainly dates back to the medieval times, as shown below, and as it spread fairly quickly thereafter, this suggests that the original village may well have been a victim of the Enclosure Acts. When this happened the villagers were turned off their common lands, and forced to try to find new homes. Examples of the name recordings include Agnes Norcliffe of Halifax on May 2nd 1583, Ann Northcliffe, also of Halifax on May 18th 1616, and Edward Nortcliffe, christened at Kirkburton, Near Huddersfield, on November 2nd 1603. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Nortclif, which was dated January 25th 1547, who was christened at Halifax Parish Church, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as 'Bluff King Hal', 1510 - 1547. 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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