This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon. The placename is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "spring" meaning spring or well plus "ford" a ford; hence "a shallow crossing over a spring". The surname is first recorded in the early 17th Century (see below). Recordings of the surname from the English Church Registers include: the marriage of Ann Springford and Daniell Chanler, which took place at All Cannings, Wiltshire, on April 13th 1657; Jeane Springford and John Loveday were married on May 1st 1669, at Bishopstone by Salisbury, Wiltshire; and on September 17th 1775, William, son of Richard and Mary Springford, was christened at the Church of St. Mary's, St. Marylebone Road, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joanne Springferd, which was dated November 25th 1600, marriage to Joseph Halle, at St. Katherine-by-the-Tower, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 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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