Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this is an English surname. It is locational from a parish and village in Durham called Shadforth. Recorded as "Shaldeford" and as "Shaldeforth" in the Boldon Book for Durham, dated 1183, the place was so called from the Olde English pre 7th Century "scald, sceald", shallow, with "ford", ford; hence, "shallow ford". 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. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently produced several variations on the original spelling, which in the modern idiom appears as: Shatford, Shathford, Shadfourth, Shaudfurth, Shawforth and Shawdforth. Early examples of recordings include Robert Shawdforth who married Anne Rowe at St Oswalds, Durham, on November 21st 1545, and that on October 29th 1555 of Margaret Shadforde and Mighell Diabells at St. Margaret's Westminster,whilst on December 5th 1614, Joane Shatford married William Gater at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, city of London. 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.