This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places throughout England named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "read", red, and "ford", ford. These places include: Radford in Plymstock, Devonshire, appearing as "Reddeford" in the 1249 Assize Court Rolls of that county; Redford near Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, recorded as "Redeford" in the Domesday Book of 1086; also Redford in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Oxfordshire. The last mentioned place, noted as "Rodeford" in the 1316 Feudal Aids of Oxfordshire, appears to have as its first element a derivative of the Olde English verb "ridan", to ride; hence, "ford that can be crossed on horseback", as distinct from "ford in or near which the soil is red". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Watter de Redford (Berkshire, 1230) and Nicholas atte Rydeford (Sussex, 1296). In 1595, one Ralph Radford, of Chester, tanner, was entered in the Wills Records held at Chester. A Coat of Arms granted to the Radford family is an azure shield with a gold fretty, on a red chief three bells of the second. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Radeford, which was dated 1209, in the "Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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