Some families of this name in Ireland may descend from settlers who brought it in from England, but in County Kerry, where it has been, and is still found predominantly, it was used as an anglicization of the Irish O'Clumhain. In the last century the Registrar of Births reported that in Dingle Union and Killarney Union, Clifford was used interchangeably with Cluvane, which has now supplanted, although at least one family in Kerry has reassumed the Irish form O'Clumhain.
In England CLIFFORD was a locational name 'of Clifford', parishes in the diocese of Hereford and Gloucester. This name was an old English name in origin. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived.
Almost every city, town or village existing in the Middle Ages has served to name one or more families. Where a man lived was his means of identification. When a man left his birthplace or village where he had been known, and went elsewhere, people would likely refer to him by the name of his former residence or birthplace, or by the name of the land which he owned.
A family of the name prior to 1138 acquired Clifford Castle on the Wye, 17 miles west of Hereford, by marriage, and assumed the name Clifford. Early records of the name mention Roger de Clifford of the County of Warwickshire, during the reign of Henry II (1154-1189). Margaret de Clifford of the County of Oxford was documented in 1273. Johannes de Clyford of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Edward John Clifford was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1566.
This surname is particularly associated with the manors of Huxley and Styche. Stephen de Cliffe recorded in 1189 is an early ancestor. In about 1750 George Clive settled in Birmingham, and was the ancestors of a prolific family of gunmakers.
The associated coat of arms was recorded in Sir Bernard
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