This is an English medieval surname. It is locational from one or perhaps any of the various villages called Stapleford found in the counties of Cambridge, Essex, Hertford, Leicester, Nottingham and Wiltshire. The relative popularity of the place name stems from its meaning. Derived from the Olde English pre 7th century words "stapol-ford", it describes a place on a river where the ford or shallow crossing was marked by posts. The marking of anything was rare in "Merry England", sign posts were almost non existent, and it was often only the surviving Roman mile stones of a thousand years earlier which gave a general idea on directions. It is also probably true that a "stapol" referred to a crossing where tolls were extracted from passing merchants and traders, and these would have been marked by posts to give an air of authority. The Cambridge village of Stapleford was recorded as early as the year 956 in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, although the surname is three hundred years later. The first known recording may be that of Gilbert de Stapelford at Lincoln in the Hundred Rolls of that county in 1273, whilst Hugh de Stapleford of Bedfordshire, appears in the Hundred Rolls of that county in the same year.
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