This most interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a rare locational name, deriving from some minor place such as Stoneclif or Stancliff in Agbrigg in West Yorkshire, which was recorded as "Stayncliff" in the Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire in 1274. The placename itself is composed of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "stan", stone, and "clif", a slope; hence a stony slope. There is also a school called Stancliffe Hall, near Bakewell in Derbyshire. During the Middle Ages, when migration for the purpose of job-seeking was becoming more common, people often took their former village name as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Early examples of the surname from Halifax Church Registers include the christening of Sibbella, daughter of Edwardi Stanckclyff, on May 18th 1547; the marriage of Margaret Stancliff and Johes Bentley on January 4th 1548; the marriage of William Stancliff and Alicia Oxnoppe on July 17th 1552; and the christening of Christopher, son of Christopher Stancliffe, on September 14th 1554. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Edwardi Stanckclyff, which was dated 1539, a christening witness, at Halifax, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good 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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