This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from the Old English pre 7th Century "(ge)delf", digging, mine, quarry or ditch. As a surname from this source Delf and its variant forms Delph, Delve and Delves, may be topographical, denoting residence by the quarry or quarries or ditch(es), or it may be a metonymic occupational name for a miner, excavator or quarrier, from the Old English "delfere", "delf" with the agent suffix "-er". In some cases the modern surname may be locational in origin, from the places called "Delph" in Yorkshire or "King's Delph" in Huntingdonshire, derived from "delf", as before. The variant "Delves" is in cases the genitive form, meaning "or Delph" or "of the quarry", but may also be a patronymic, meaning "son of the miner", for instance. John Delves is recorded in the Ancient Deeds of Staffordshire for 1376. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Mabel de la Delve, which was dated 1296, in the "Sussex Subsidy Rolls", during the reign of King Edward , known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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