Recorded as Senfield, Sinfield, Singfield, Sinfold, and even Sineeld, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational from Shinfield, a village in the county of Berkshire. The derivation of the placename is from the pre 7th Century personal name "Scene", and the suffix "feol", meaning land cleared for agriculture; and hence more pragmatically Scene's farm. The place was first recorded in the famous Domesday Book of 1086 as Soanesfelt which does not say a lot for Norman spelling, as Shiningefeld in the Pipe Rolls of 1167; and as Sinningefelde in the Hereford Charters of 1269. The personal name Scene is related to the Old High German sconea, and means beautiful, thus giving Shinfield the possible alternative meaning of "beautiful field". Locational surnames, such as this, were usually taken by the local lord of the manor, and later by former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter identified by the name of their birthplace. Recordings from surviving earty church registers include the the marriage of Christopher Senfeild at Toddington in Bedfordshire on November 12th 1581, the marriage of William Senfield and Catherine Clarke on January 2nd 1668; and the christening of Edward Sinfield on October 27th 1700, both at St. Giles' Cripplegate in the city of London. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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