This unusual surname, of Olde English origins, is either a derived form of "Schole-feld", a now "lost" hamlet in the parish of Rochdale, Lancashire, or from some unidentified placed called Scourfield, in Pembroke, the English speaking part of Wales. The names mean respectively "the hut (schole) on the land" or "the cleared (skir) land", and in both cases the origins are pre 10th Century. Neither site appears in the list prepared by the Royal Commission on Medieval Villages (1990), but this is not unusual, the research being on-going. What is perhaps surprising is that the name is relatively popular both in Pembroke (Wales) and Yorkshire - Lancashire, areas over two hundred miles apart. The explanation is almost certainly "Plantation", lands in Wales (as in Ireland) being granted to English settlers as a means of "passifying" the local population. What is absolutely certain is that the name did not originate in Wales, even though that principality has produced the earliest recordings. Examples include: John Scourfield of Llys-y-Fran, Pembroke, on April 18th 1619, and slightly earlier, Elizabeth Scurfield, of Narberth, also Pembroke, a spelling found in Yorkshire in the same period. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Scholefeld, which was dated 1343, in the "Records of Whalley Abbey", Lancashire, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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