This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either habitational from Cottisford in Oxfordshire, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cot", house (later in medieval times known as a "cottage"), and "forda", ford; hence, "the house by a ford", or it may be topographical denoting someone who lived by such a place, from the same elements. The village is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Cotesforde", and later, in the 1242 Land Surveys, as "Cottesford". The frequency of the name recordings in London from the mid 16th Century suggests that in this period many villagers lost their holdings and tenancies and were forced off their land by the enclosure acts.This would also help to account for the wide variety of spellings of which examples include: the christening of John Cotesford at the Church of St. Michael's, Bassishaw, London in February 1583, and the christening of Israell Cottesford at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, also in London in April 1594. Thomas Cottesford, of Walpole, Norfolk, was a supporter of King Charles 1, and was imprisoned for his pains, whilst earlier, in circa 1532, John Cottisford was Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with two red bars within a black bordure engrailed charged with eight bezants. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Cotsford, which was dated May 28th 1577, marriage to Eunica Warcop, at the Church of St. Lawrence Jewry, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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