This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the places called "Shelford" in the counties of Cambridgeshire and Nottinghamshire. The placenames are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Escelforde" and "Scelforde" respectively, and share the same meaning and derivation. The name means "the ford at the shallow place", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sceldu", shallow(ness), shallow place and "ford" ford. Locational surnames were usually given to the lord of the manor and to those former inhabitants of a place who moved away, and were thereafter most easily identified by the name of their home-town. One John Shelford was married to Jane Thompson on June 25th 1607 in London, and the christening of John Shelford on September 21st 1788 was recorded at Basford, Nothinghamshire. A notable namebearer, Leonard Shelford (1795 - 1865), was a legal writer and barrister. His works include "Real Property Statutes" (1834), "Law and Railways" (1845), and "Law of Joint Stock Companies" (1863). A Coat of Arms granted to the Shelford family is a gold shield, with three black bars dancettee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reynold Shelford, which was dated September 30th 1595, marriage to Isbell Smith, at Ickleton, Cambridgeshire, 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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