This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from either of the two places called 'Rochford' in Essex and in Worcestershire. The place in Essex is recorded as 'Roche(s) fort' in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as 'Rocheford' in the Essex Curia Rolls of 1195. The place in Worcestershire is recorded as 'Recesford' in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as 'Rocheford' in the Fees Court Rolls of 1242. Both places share the same meaning and derivation, which is 'the ford of the hunting-dog', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century 'raecc', dog that hunts by scent, perhaps used here as a byname, with 'ford', ford.The English placename development was influenced by the common French placename 'Rochefort', composed of the elements 'roche', rock, and 'fort', strong. The modern surname can be found in a number of variant forms: Rochford, Wrotchford, Ratchford and Retchford. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waleram de Rocheforde, which was dated 1198, The Nottinghamshire Feet of Fines, during the reign of King Richard 1, 'The Lionheart', 1189-1199. 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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