This surname of GULLIFORD was of two-fold origin. It was a baptismal 'the son of Gulfer' and it was also a nickname for a greedy person. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name arrived in England with the Conqueror in 1066 as GUNNOLFR. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. The name is also locational, of Guildford or Guldford, a diocese of Chichester. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention William Gulafra, who was documented in London in 1086, and Philip Golafre appears in 1166 in County Essex. Richard Gulavere was documented in County Northampton in 1273 and Thomas Gulver of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Henry Guilafre appears in County Norfolk. Walter Guillefer was baptised at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in 1633. Walter Guillifer was baptised at the same church in the year 1654.
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