- This surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Olde English pre 7th Century "wella", well, spring, stream, with "ford", ford. These places include Welford, north east of Rugby in Northamptonshire, recorded as "Wellesford" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and Welford-on-Avon in Gloucestershire, entered as "Welleford" in the 1187 Pipe Rolls of that county. Welford, near Newbury in Berkshire, recorded as "aet Weligforda" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, dated 949, has as its first element the Olde English "welig, wilig", willow, with "ford" (as above); hence, "Ford by the Willows". 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 place of origin to settle elsewhere. One Geoffrey de Welleforde was noted in the "Oxford Deeds of Balliol College", dated 1313, and in 1606, Andrew Welford was entered in the Oxford University Register (Magdalene College). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Welleford, which was dated 1190, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.