This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Scotforth' in Lancashire, near Lancaster. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Scozforde', and in the Feet of Fines for Lancashire of 1204 as 'Scoteford'. The name means 'ford of the Scot or Scots', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'Scott', which in early Old English meant 'Irishman', but was later applied to the Gaels in Scotland exclusively. Interestingly, the place 'Scotforth' is close to 'Galgate' in Lancashire, whcih is named from an ancient road running north past Kendal, and means 'the Galway road', apparently referring to the road having been used by cattle drovers from Galway in Ireland. The 'gate' element of the name is the Old Scandinavian 'gata', road. The modern surname from 'Scotforth' has a number of variant forms; Scotchforth, Scotford, Scotchford and Scotfurth. The marriage of Katherine Scotchford and John Sharow was recorded in London in 1614. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Scotford, which was dated 1212, in the Fees Court Records of Lancashire, 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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