This rare and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Olde English personal name "Aelfheah" (Middle English "Elfegh" and "Alfeg"), composed of the elements "aelf", elf, with "heah", high. The given name is well recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Aelfec" (Hampshire); "Aelfech" (Sussex); "Aelfhag" (Nottinghamshire); "Alfeg" (Cornwall); and "Elfeg" (Derbyshire). The name was sometimes given in honour of St. Alphege (954 - 1012), who bore the Norman form of the name; he was archbishop of Canterbury in the early 11th Century and was captured and stoned to death by the Danes, thereafter being revered as a martyr. The surname is first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), and can also be found as Elphicke, Elfick, Elvidge and Alphege. William Alfegh is noted in "A Descriptive Catalogue of Ancient Deeds", Kent (1318). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the christening of Thomas, son of John and Elizabeth Elphick, on August 8th 1649, at St. Andrew's, Holborn, and the marriage of Esther Elphinck and Peter Robinson on August 8th 1693, at St. Katherine by the Tower. A Coat of Arms granted to the Elphick family is a silver shield, on a red chevron between three red eagles with two heads, three silver plates. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Elpheg, which was dated 1297, in the "Coram Rege Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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