This uncommon and interesting surname, recorded in English Church Registers from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Satford, Satyford, Satteford, Setford and Sitford, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name either from Sittaford near Chaqford in Devonshire, or from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place called Satford, believed to have been situated in south central England. The component elements of the name are most likely the Olde English pre 7th Century "set", dwelling, place of residence, place where animals were kept, and "ford", ford. The prime cause of medieval village "disappearance" was the enforced clearing of rural settlements, and the consequent dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade from the 14th Century on, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. On October 24th 1586, Richard Satyford married Joan (surname not recorded) at St. Andrew's, Plymouth, Devonshire, and on June 19th 1598, Margaret Satteford married George Durant in the same place. The spelling Setford is now most widely recorded in Sussex and Hampshire. On May 26th 1751, Richard Setford was christened at St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire, and on August 15th 1776, Elizabeth Satford married Thomas Walker at Oxted, Surrey. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Satford, which was dated November 17th 1566, marriage to Elizebeath Rouse, at St. Martin's, Birmingham, Warwickshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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