Radford

Radford - what does Radford surname mean?

This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places throughout England named with the Olde English pre 7th Century `read`, red, and `ford`, ford. These places include: Radford in Plymstock, Devonshire, appearing as `Reddeford` in the 1249 Assize Court Rolls of that county; Redford near Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, recorded as `Redeford` in the Domesday Book of 1086; also Redford in Warwickshire, Worcestershire, and Oxfordshire. The last mentioned place, noted as `Rodeford` in the 1316 Feudal Aids of Oxfordshire, appears to have as its first element a derivative of the Olde English verb `ridan`, to ride; hence, `ford that can be crossed on horseback`, as distinct from `ford in or near which the soil is red`. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Watter de Redford (Berkshire, 1230) and Nicholas atte Rydeford (Sussex, 1296). In 1595, one Ralph Radford, of Chester, tanner, was entered in the Wills Records held at Chester. A Coat of Arms granted to the Radford family is an azure shield with a gold fretty, on a red chief three bells of the second. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Radeford, which was dated 1209, in the `Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire`, during the reign of King John, known as `Lackland`, 1199 - 1216. 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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