This most interesting and rare surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" village, that has now disappeared. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or to the widespread practice of enforced "clearing" and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures from the 15th Century onwards. However, the name may also be of topographical origin, for a dweller by a stony ford, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stanen", stony, and "ford", a ford. The name of the lost village mentioned above is probably composed of the same elements, and appears to have been located in the Eastern counties. Early recordings of the surname include: the christening of Elizabeth, daughter of Robert Staningford, on June 7th 1601, at St. Albans Abbey, Hertfordshire; the marriage of Joseph Stanningford to Dina Adams on April 26th 1732, at Epping, Essex; and the marriage of Mary Standingford and John Arnold on March 29th 1769, at Tottenham, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Staningford, which was dated October 31st 1597, marriage to Elizabeth Stutsburie, at St. Albans Abbey, Hertfordshire, 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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