Recorded as Chilver and Chilvers, this is an English surname. It derives from a Middle English survival of the pre 7th century personal name "Ceolfrith". This is composed of the Olde English elements "ceol", meaning a ship and "frith", peace. The personal name is also found in the placename "Chilvers Coton" in Warwickshire, which translates as "Ceolfrith's cottage", from the Olde English element "cot", cottage. Early Olde English and Viking baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the gods of Fire, Water and War, or composed of apparently disparate elements. The surname itself, found widespread in Norfolk and Suffolk, first appears in the church recordings of the mid 16th century (see below). Examples of the recordings include Bridget, John and Margaret, the children of Alexander and Agnes Chilvers, who were christened on October 17th 1613, April 9th 1616 and June 11th 1618 respectively, at Hoxue in Suffolk, whilst Thomas Chilvers married Mary Powell at Swaffham, Norfolk, on September 24th 1625, and David, son of Anthony Chilver, was christened at Wandsworth, London, on Dec 19th 1692. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Margaret Chilver, which was dated 1565, when she married Richard Carter, at Thrandeston in Suffolk, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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