This very interesting surname is of English locational origin. Recorded in the spellings of Lashford, Latchford, Letchford or Letford, it derives from either the village of Latchford in the parish of Grappenhall, Cheshire or from a similar village called Latchford in Oxfordshire. The name translates from the Olde English pre 7th Century "loecc", meaning "a stream" and "forda", a shallow crossing place, both villages appearing in the 1086 Domesday Book. The surname generally appears to originate from the Oxford source, and as such is first recorded in the last half of the 13th Century, see below. This type of locational surname derives from when the original name holder moved to another place. He was then given the name of his former village purely for easy identification. Examples of the recordings include in 1609 Nicholas Latchford in "the Wills Record at Chester", John Letford at Southwark, London, in 1645, John Lashford of Macclesfield in 1679, and Frances Letchford in 1788 in London. The Coat of Arms was confirmed in 1605, and therefore is presumably much older, and has the blazon of a black field, charged with a chevron between three leopards faces. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip de Lecheford, which was dated 1279 in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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.