This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a parish and village in Durham called Shadforth. Recorded as "Shaldeford" and as "Shaldeforth" in the Boldon Book for Durham, dated 1183, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "scald, sceald", shallow, with "ford", ford; hence, "shallow ford". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling, which in the modern idiom appears as: Shatford, Shathford, Shadfourth, Shaudfurth and Shawdforth. On October 29th 1555, Margaret Shadforde and Mighell Diabells were married at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and on December 5th 1614, Joane Shatford married a William Gater at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Shawdforth, which was dated November 21st 1545, marriage to Annes Row, at St. Oswald's, Durham, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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