This interesting surname is of English locational pre 7th century origin. Recorded in the spellings of Halford, Hallford, Hallfford, and Halliford, it derives from the various villages so called, although the meanings vary in different parts of the country. The villages called Halford in Devonshire and Warwickshire, derive from the old English "halh" meaning a recess or hollow in the ground plus "forda", a shallow river crossing. Halford in Shropshire derives from "hafocere", an early word for a merchant, which suggests that merchants gathered at this place and possibly established a market. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century, (see below), whilst early recordings of the surname taken from the charters include William de Halford in the Hundred Rolls of the year 1273 for Devonshire, and William de Holeford in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire in the same year. Church register recordings include examples such as Eme Hallfford, who married Richard Steavens on January 31st 1563 in Halford, Devon, whilst Wolstan Halford married Phriswed Hannes on February 14th 1572 in Tredington, Warwickshire. Elizabeth Halford, the daughter of Richard and Elizabeth Halford, was christened on February 4th 1620 at the church of St. Mary Somerset, London, and Catharine Halford aged 18 yrs, was a 'famine emigrant', sailed from Liverpool aboard the ship "Waterloo" bound for New York on June 1st 1846, to escape the 'Potato Famine' of 1846 - 1848. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Haleford, which was dated 1272, in the rolls known as "Testa de Neville sive liber Feodorum", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.