This unusual and interesting name derives from the Olde High German 'bercvrit', (Olde French 'beffroi') meaning a bell tower, especially one formerly used for surveillance purposes in times of war, and from which the alarm was sounded on sighting the enemy. The name is therefore either topographic from residence by one such tower, or occupational for someone whose duty it was to maintain or keep watch from the tower. The name is recorded heraldically in Riestaps 'Armorial General'. The shield is black with a silver lion rampant, black denotes constancy and silver sincerity. The lion, king of beasts, originally denoted majesty and kingship, but in later usage became emblematic of strength, courage and generosity. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Beffroy de Champagne, (North East France), which was dated circa 1680 - Rietstap's Armorial General, during the reign of King Louis XIV of France, The Sun King, 1643 - 1715. 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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