This is an Olde English habitational name which derives from the elements "taelf", meaning "a plateau" and "forda", meaning "a shallow river crossing". There are several places named in the 1086 Domesday Book, the usual spelling being "Tejleford" of "Tevellsford", the counties being Somerset, Warwickshire and Berkshire. Some name holders may derive from the medieval French nickname for a soldier "Taille-Fer" one who cuts with iron, the surname as Telford or Telpher being regularly recorded along side each other in early records.What is certain is that the name does not derive from Telford in Shropshire, this is a "new" town, actually named after the famous Thomas Telford (1757 - 1834), who was himself born in Scotland! The alternative name spellings include Tailford (1597), Tilford (1684), Talyfer (1598), Tilfard (1642), Telforth (1630), whilst the modern popular spelling as Telford is first recorded in 1661 (Katherine Telford of London). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanne Tayleford, which was dated November 4th 1562, christened at St. Martin's Church, Ludgate, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 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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