Recorded as Refford, Wreford, and Wrefford, this interesting name is of pre 7th century Olde English origins. It is locational from a 'lost' medieval village, probably on Dartmoor, in the county of Devonshire. This is suggested by the abundance of surname recordings in that county. The derivation is thought to be from the word "wearg", meaning a felon, with "ford", a ford over a river where felons were drowned! This first element "wearg" is also found in Warnborough, Hampshire, and appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Werge borne". Early examples of the surname recordings include those of Avis Wreforde, who was christened at Bovey Tracey, on March 16th 1555. Other early recordings in Devonshire include the marriages of Michael Wreford and Isolde Lane on October 10th 1569, at North Tawton, and of Thomasin Wreford and John Towse on May 6th 1571, at Mamhead. The first recorded spelling of the family name in church registers is believed to be that of Eilazbeth Wraiforde. This was dated 1538, when she was christened at Bovey Tracey, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111 of England. He was known as "Good King Hal", and reigned from 1509 - 1547. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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