This unusual surname is a late medieval, early modern English variant form of the Olde English personal name "Colfox". This name from pre- Norman times (1066) comprises the elements "col" meaning black, and "fox", a fox. The name was originally a nickname for one who according to the Middle English Dictionary circa 1350, was "ful of sly iniquitee". Presumably, despite this description, the name was considered complimentary, otherwise, as in the case of "Rattlepate", it would have disappeared long ago. The name recordings have always been rare, but nevertheless a Canting Coat of Arms, which is one that is a play on the name, was granted circa 1600; this is a gold field, a blue chief charged with three foxes in gold. The recordings include Richard Colfox of Suffolk in 1274, whilst on February 20th 1614, Julius Cofax, the son of Julius, was christened at St. Mary Whitechapel, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Colfox, which was dated 1221, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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