Holforthay is a name whose history is connected to the ancient Anglo-Saxon
tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Holforthay family once lived in Holford, a place-name found in Somerset
. The place-name is derived from the Old English elements hol,
which means hollow or valley, and ford,
a shallow place where a river may be crossed by wading. Fords were very important in medieval England
, as bridges were very expensive to both build and maintain. Any place where there was a ford across a river was bound to become a settlement of one sort or another, especially if it was a long way to the next ford up or down the river. In this particular case, the place-name Holford means "ford across the river in a valley."
Early Origins of the Holforthay family
The surname Holforthay was first found in West Somerset
in the hundred
of Whitley at Holford, a village and civil parish that dates back to the Domesday Book
of 1086 where it was listed as Holeforde. The place name literally meant "hollow ford, ford in a hollow," from the Old English words hol + ford. CITATION[CLOSE]
Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
The River Holford which runs through the village flows to the sea at Kilve.
Early History of the Holforthay family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Holforthay research.Another 183 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1717, 1541 and 1588 are included under the topic Early Holforthay History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Holforthay Spelling Variations
Sound was what guided spelling in the essentially pre-literate Middle Ages, so one person's name was often recorded under several variations during a single lifetime. Also, before the advent of the printing press and the first dictionaries, the English language was not standardized. Therefore, spelling variations
were common, even among the names of the most literate people. Known variations of the Holforthay family name include Holford, Holfords and others.
Early Notables of the Holforthay family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Lady Elizabeth Holford, who in 1717, gave £500 in support of a school in Stanton St. John in Oxfordshire
Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
Blessed Thomas... Another 30 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Holforthay Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Holforthay family to the New World and Oceana
For political, religious, and economic reasons, thousands of English families boarded ships for Ireland
, Canada, the America colonies, and many of smaller tropical colonies in the hope of finding better lives abroad. Although the passage on the cramped, dank ships caused many to arrive in the New World diseased and starving, those families that survived the trip often went on to make valuable contributions to those new societies to which they arrived. Early immigrants bearing the Holforthay surname or a spelling variation of the name include: Elizabeth Holford arrived in Annapolis, Maryland in 1729; Eleanor Holford settled in New England
in 1706; Thomas Holford settled in Maryland in 1725.