This interesting and unusual name is of French origin, particularly Norman and was probably introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066, Chaffe, and the variant spellings Chaff, Chave, Caff, and Cave, is a nickname surname for a bald headed person, deriving from the Old French "chauf", the Latin "calvus", meaning bald. Calvus was a Roman family name, originally a byname and was still in use in the Middle Ages as a given name in Italy. The following examples illustrate the name developemnt after 1214 (see below), William Caff (1214, Lincolnshire) William le Cave, (1280, Somerset) Richard Chafe (1649, London). Among the recordings in London is the marriage of William Chaffe and Bridgett Woodcock on January 1st 1620 at St. Lawrence Jewry and St. Mary Magdalene, Milk Street. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger le Chauf, which was dated 1214, in the "Curia Rolls of Cornwall", during the reign of King John, 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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