The surname of FORD was an occupational name 'the keeper of the ford' the man in charge of the river crossing. Local names find their origins in the villages, towns and areas where people were born, or from the land they owned. In the Middle Ages, a man was identified by his place of birth and almost every city, town and village existing medieval times has originated one or more family names. Anyone leaving his birthplace would be known to new friends and neighbours by the name of his former residence, his birthplace, or the land he owned. Early records of the name mention Bruman de la Forda, listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Richard de la Foard, was documented in the year 1273 in County Norfolk. William le Forde of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Henry Feekes and Alice Foorde were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1620. The name is found early in Scotland, and Thomas de Furd, was the presbyter in the Diocese of St. Andrew's in 1406. William Forde of Scotland had payment for his wages in 1489, and Adam Furd held lands in Burncastell in 1493.
An interesting member of the name was John Ford (1568-1640) the English dramatist, born in Devon. He studied for a year at Oxford and entered the Middle Temple in 1602. He was expelled for debt, but re-admitted. He wrote a masterful chronicle play 'Perkin Warbeck' in 1634. In many parts of central and western Europe, hereditary surnames began to become fixed at around the 12th century, and have developed and changed slowly over the years. As society became more complex, and such matters as the management of tenure, and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to distinguish a more complex system of nomenclature to differentiate one individual from another. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour.
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