In Ireland this family STAFFORD were a very ancient family in the County of Wexford, who possessed large estates until dispossessed by Oliver Cromwell; Hamon de Stafford was among the gentlemen of the County of Wexford summoned to attend Edward III in the war with Scotland A.D. 1335. Originally the surname of STAFFORD was a locational name 'of Stafford' the place in County Staffordshire. The name was derived from the Old English word STAEP-FORD, and literally meant the dweller by the stony ford. The earliest of the name on record is STADFORD (without surname) who was listed in the Domesday Book of 1086. STATFORD (without surname) was documented in the year 1130. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Other records of the name mention Martin de Stafford, 1273, County Suffolk. Ranulf de Stafford, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Baptised. Edward, sonne of Sir Robert Stafford, knight at St. James's. Clerkenwell, London in 1562. Anthony Stafford of County Oxford, registered at Oxford University in 1576. A notable member of the name was William Howard, 1st Viscount Stafford (1614-1680) the English Catholic nobleman. He was beheaded on Tower Hill as a victim of the perjuries of Titus Oates. His attainder was reversed in 1824. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be used in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that it became common practice for all people. 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 Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Registered at Ballymacane, County Wexford).
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