Gildeforthey History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Of all the Anglo-Saxon names to come from Britain, Gildeforthey is one of the most ancient. The name is a result of the original family having lived in the village of Guildford, which was in the county of Surrey. The surname was originally derived from the Old English word guilford which denoted the "ford where the marigolds grew." 
"This place, of which there is no mention either in the British or the Roman annals, is supposed to be of Saxon origin, and to have derived its name from Guild, a fraternity, and Ford, the passage over a stream. It was held in royal demesne, and, by Speed, is said to have been the residence of some of the Saxon kings." 
Early Origins of the Gildeforthey family
The surname Gildeforthey was first found in Kent at Guildford, a county town that dates back to Saxon times c. 880 when it was first listed as Gyldeforda. About 978 or so, it was home to an early English Royal Mint. By the Domesday Book of 1086,  the town's name have evolved to Gildeford and was held by William the Conqueror. 
Guildford Castle is thought to have been built shortly after the 1066 invasion of England by William the Conqueror. As the castle is not listed in the Domesday Book, it is generally thought to have been built after 1086. Over the years, the castle has gone through many hands and is today held by the Guildford Corporation. It's essentially in ruins, but the gardens are a very popular tourist site. The keep now contains a visitor centre, open between April and September.
One of the earliest records of the family was that of Nicholas Guildford (fl. 1250), poet, who is the supposed author of an English poem, 'The Owl and the Nightingale.' It takes the "form of a contest between the two birds as to their relative merits of voice and singing. Master Nicholas de Guildford is chosen as umpire, and we then learn that his home is at Porteshom (now Portisham) in Dorset. 'The Owl and the Nightingale' is a poem of real merit, smoothly and melodiously written, and is an excellent specimen of the south-western dialect of the thirteenth century." 
Early History of the Gildeforthey family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gildeforthey research. Another 77 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1500, 1455, 1506, 1489 and 1532 are included under the topic Early Gildeforthey History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gildeforthey Spelling Variations
The first dictionaries that appeared in the last few hundred years did much to standardize the English language. Before that time, spelling variations in names were a common occurrence. The language was changing, incorporating pieces of other languages, and the spelling of names changed with it. Gildeforthey has been spelled many different ways, including Guildford, Guildeford, Guilford, Gilford and others.
Early Notables of the Gildeforthey family (pre 1700)
Distinguished members of the family include Sir Richard Guildford, KG (c.1455-1506), an English courtier, held an important position in the court of Henry VII, including the office of Master...
Migration of the Gildeforthey family
Thousands of English families in this era began to emigrate the New World in search of land and freedom from religious and political persecution. Although the passage was expensive and the ships were dark, crowded, and unsafe, those who made the voyage safely were rewarded with opportunities unavailable to them in their homeland. Research into passenger and immigration lists has revealed some of the very first Gildefortheys to arrive in North America: Samuel Guilford settled in Philadelphia in 1851; Margaret Guildford settled in New England in 1769.
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Animo et fide
Motto Translation: By courage and faith.