Recorded as Reford, Refford, Wraiford, Wreford, Wrefford, Wreiford and Wreaforde, this interesting name is of pre 7th century Olde English origins. It is locational from a medieval "lost" village, probably on Dartmoor, in the county of Devonshire. This is suggested by the abundance of recordings in that county. The derivation is thought to be from the word "wearg", meaning a felon, with "forda", a shallow river crossing, to give a place where felons were drowned! This first element "wearg" is also found in Warnborough, Hampshire, which is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Wergeborne". Early examples of the surname recording from the surviving church registers of the county of Devonshire include those of Avis Wreforde, who was christened at Bovey Tracey, on March 16th 1555, Michael Wreford and Isolde Lane, who were married on October 10th 1569, at North Tawton, and Charles Refford who was christened at Holy Trinity, Exeter, on August 23rd 1801. The first recorded spelling of the family name in church registers is believed to be that of Eilazbeth Wraiforde. This was dated 1538, when she was christened at Bovey Tracey, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111 of England. He was known as "Good King Hal", and reigned from 1509 - 1547. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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