This interesting surname of English origin is a locational name from a place called Stockport in Greater Manchester, which used to be locally pronounced as Stopford. The placename is recorded in the 12th Century as Stokeport, deriving from the Old English pre 7th Century "stoc" meaning "hamlet" or "dependent settlement" plus "port" "harbour" or "market place". The surname dates back to the early 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include one Thomas Stoppforth (1379), "The Yorkshire Poll Tax Returns". Variations in the idiom of the spelling include Stapforth, Stapford, etc. One, John Stopforth was christened on May 5th 1547 at Croston, Lancashire. James Stopford was christened on December 25th 1547, at Croston, Lancashire, and Gilbert Stopforth married Anne Feilde at St. Dunstan in the East, London on April 11th 1624. One Dorothy, daughter of Gilbert and Anne Stapford, was christened at St. Benet, Fink, London, on March 21st 1629. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Stokeport, which was dated 1204 - "The Pipe Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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