Recorded in the spellings of Biffen, Biffin, Biffon, Baffen, Bufffin and probably others, this is an English medieval surname. It has at least two possible and quite separate origins. The first is from a Norman-French nickname term of endearment, "bon-fin" and translating literally as good and delicate. This phrase was introduced into England after 1066, and achieved some popularity in the three centuries when French was the spoken language of the upper classes. The second possible origin is from an Anglo-Saxon personal name "Bofa". This was a popular first name of great antiquity and one which just about survived the Conquest, when many such 'Saxon' names were lost through a combination of political correctness and self preservation! This name is the first element in the placename Bovington in Dorset, which translates as "The settlement of Bofa's people". The surnames are well recorded in the neighbouring counties of Devon and Somerset. Examples include Sara Boffen who married John Whaits on the 27th April 1630 at North Petherton, Somerset, Emling Byffen who married John Stone at St. Petrox, in Dartmonth, Devon, on March 18th 1674, whilst John Biffing married Agnis Hutchings on April 10th 1694, at Ugborough. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Buffin. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st of England and known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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