This name, with variant spellings Rochford and Retchford, is of English locational origin, from either of two places called "Rochford", one in Essex and the other in Worcestershire. The former was first recorded as Roche(s)fort in the Domesday of 1086 and variously as Rocheford and Racheford in 1195 and 1200 respectively. The latter appeared as Recesford in the Domesday Book and as Rocheford in the 1242 "Fine Court Rolls of Worcestershire". Both places are so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "raecc(e)", a hunting dog (perhaps a byname), plus "ford", a ford. The spelling "roch" is the result of French influence from "roche", a rock - a common element in French place names. Sir John de Rochford, knighted circa 1386 was a medieval writer who accompanied Henry 1V to Wales in 1405. On January 29th 1617 Thomas Ratchford and Abigail Jarvis were married in St. Gregory by St. Paul's, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waleram de Rocheforde, witness, which was dated 1198, in "The Fine Court Rolls of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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