This is a topographical name which may also have been locational. It translates as "the dweller at the steep cliff", from Olde English "Sceot" and "Clif" from the pre 7th Century. It is possible that a village or hamlet of the same name meaning did once exist, but if so its location is now lost but may have been in Derbyshire. The modern surname is well recorded, the name development including Elizabeth Shortcliffe recorded at London Bishopsgate on July 7th 1671, whilst in 1795, Edward Shietcliffe married Jane Peirson at St. Mary le Bone on June 8th 1795 and Agnes Shirtliff married William O' Hara at St. Peters, Hammersmith in 1875. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Shertliffe, which was dated 1620, christened at St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, during the reign of King James 1, of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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