This is an English locational surname from the city of Coventry in the county of Warwickshire. The place name was first recorded in the year 1043 as "Couaentree", and as "Coventrev" in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, when the Norman clerks gave it their form. Acording to the Oxford Dictionary of English Places Names, the name means "Cofa's tree", with Cofa being a pre 7th century Olde English personal name. However the word cofa can also mean a valley, so another possible explanation is the trees in the valley. Also the word "tree" had other connotations and could refer to the public gallows, with many places having such objects as the centre point of the parish! Locational surnames were by their nature, usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. When this happened, these people would take or be given as their surname the name of the place from whence they came. It is not therefore surprising that the first recording of this surname is some way from Coventry with Thomas de Coventre being recorded as a land owner in the city Oxford in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, whilst Johannes de Coventre is recorded in the Poll tax register of Yorkshire in 1379.
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