This interesting surname, with variant spellings Swinfon, Swynfen etc., is of English locational origin from a place thus called in the parish of Weeford, Staffordshire. Recorded as Swyneffen in the 1232, Assize Court Rolls of that county, and as Swynefen in the 1252, Fine Court Rolls, the place was so called from the Old English pre 7th Century "swin", Swind, pig or wild boar, plus the Old English "fen", related to the East Saxon "faen", fen or marsh. The surname is particularly well recorded in Staffordshire Church registers from the mid 16th Century. On December 30th 1566, Thomas, son of Richard Swinfen, was christened in Weeford, and on January 24th 1584, Anne Swinfen and John Broughe were married in St. Mary's, Lichfield. The marriage of William Swinfen to Joyce Cominges took place in St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, on March 11th 1587. An interesting namebearer was Samuel Swynfen or Seinfen, (1679-1734), M.D., Pembroke College, Oxford and godfather to Dr. Johnson. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Swinfen, (marriage to Anne Hill), which was dated 1552, Lichfield, Staffordshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, "The Boy King", 1547 - 1553. 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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