According to the famous Victorian etymogist Canon Charles Bardsley, this is an English medieval surname. It would seem to have originated in the county of Essex, or at least in the region known as East Anglia, and it is possible that in medieval times there was actually a village called "Wynter-flod" or similar. The meaning of the name is a water meadow which was allowed to flood during the winter months, in order to provide better grazing when it dried out in the summer. This was a common agriculatural practice throughout much of low lying Britain, and one that has only changed in the past two or three centuries as land drainage techniques now largely prevent winter rains and rising tides from flooding the lands. Over three thousand British Isles surnames are known to have originated from now "lost" medieval villages, of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surname itself. In this case early examples of the surname recording include: Walter Winterflod, a land owner in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Essex in 1273, and Ralph de Wynterfled also of Essex in the same year. In 1567 Thomas Sedgewyke married Grace Winterfloode at Norwich, whilst in London in 1808, John Ellison married Elizabeth Winterflood at St George's Chapel, Hanover Square.