- Recorded in many spelling forms as shown below, this interesting surname is of English origins. It is locational from a place called Tonacliffe in the county of Lancashire. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th century words "tun" meaning a settlement, "woella", a spring or stream, and "clif," a bank or slope. The placename is recorded as Tunwaleclif in the pipe rolls of Lancashire in 1246. The surname dates back to the mid 13th century, (see below), and spelling forms include Tunnacliff, Tunnaclifft, Tunaclift, Tunnicliff, Tuniclisse, Dunnicliff, Dunnicliffe, and others. Examples of the recordings taken from early surviving church registers include those of Ann Toniecliffe who married Arthur Evans on March 25th 1654 at St. Botolph, Bishopsgate, and Elizabeth Tuncliffe who married John Newcome on February 20th 1719 at St. John's Hackney, both in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Tunwaleclif. This was dated 1246, in the Assize Rolls of Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, of England, 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.