This is an English locational name, from the village of Swafield in Norfolk. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Suafelda' and in the 'Feet of Fines for the County of Norfolk' as 'Swathfeld' in 1197. The first element of the name is from the Old English pre 7th century 'swaeth' or 'swathu' a track, the second from 'feld', meaning 'open country' or 'land free from wood'. The placename, therefore, describes 'a track across the field'. Locational names were usually given to the lord of the manor, to the inhabitants of the place or to those who moved from that place to live or work in another village or town. George Swaffield and Kezia Overly were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, in 1750. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Swafeld, which was dated 1292, in the County Records of Bedfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272-1307. 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.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017