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This very East Anglian sur­name ap­pears to have re­lated to one who lived near, or worked in, a church­yard. In the 1881 Cen­sus there were 415 in­stances of the sur­name, mostly in East Anglia and pre­dom­i­nantly in Suf­folk.

Thomas Church­yard was a Suf­folk painter and il­lus­tra­tor in the early 19th Cen­tury. He was born in Mel­ton, near Wood­bridge, in 1789 and was a be­came a lawyer as well as an artist whose pas­sion was for Suf­folk land­scapes. Thomas died in 1865 and his art is col­lected and en­joyed to­day.

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