This ancient surname, in its many different forms has a French origination. It derives from the word 'chauf' or Latin 'calvus' meaning 'bald' and hence was given as a nickname in medieval times to people of that desciption. The introduction into England was probably by the Normans at the 1066 Invasion, the first 'surname' recording as shown below, being early 13th century. Thereafter the recordings are quite regular, and the variety of spellings, and their patronymics, is surpringly large. It seems that people of the Middle Ages possessed an extremely robust sense of humour, and did not lightly take offence to being called names which the 20th century would find objectionable.In this case early recordings include William Caff in the 1214 Curia Regis rolls of Lincoln, Roger Calvus in the 1220 Curia Regis rolls of Cornwall, and William Le Cave in the 1280 Assize Court rolls of Somerset. Richard Caufin is recorded in Norfolk in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, whilst Richard Caffyn appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex in the year 1327. Other recordings are those of Richard Chafe, who died in London in 1649, whilst Daniell Chaffin was recorded in the parish register of Christ Church, Barbados in 1680. The modern spelling forms include Chaff, Chaffe, Chave, Caff, Cafe, Kave, Cave, Caffe, etc and the patronymics Chaffin, Chafen, Chauvin, Caffin, and Caffyn. The Coat of Arms most associated with the surname has the blazon of a red field, a gold talbot (hunting dog) passant. The crest also has a talbot passant in gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Caff, which was dated 1214, recorded in the Curia Regis rolls of Cornwall, during the reign of King John of England, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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