This very unusual surname recorded in the known spellings of Alflatt, Alflat, Allflatt, Elfleet, and Elfitt, is of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from the compound personal or baptismal name 'Aelfflaed' which translates as 'elf beauty' or 'noble beauty', a description which no doubt accounts for its popularity in the period before the 1066 Norman Conquest. Thereafter it was 'politically correct' to adopt a more French type name such as William or Richard, and the Olde British names, except in remote areas, tended to die out, and were not adopted as surnames. In this case all the early recordings are from East Anglia, and specifically Suffolk, an area of fens, and almost totally cut off until the 17th century. The rarity of a surname can often be judged by the variations in the spelling in early records. In the case of Simon (also recorded as Symon) Alflett of London, he had three children christened at the same church, St Ann Blackfriars, between 1609 and 1616, and in each case his surname appears under different spellings Alflett (1609), Alflot (1610) and Alflet (1616). Early recordings of the name from ancient charters include Thomas Alfred in the Curia Regis Rolls of Suffolk in 1222, Thomas Alflet of Cambridge in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of that county, whilst in the 1086 Domesday Book the name in its baptismal form, pre surnames, appears as Aeflet, Aelfled, Alfleta and Aelffled. The coat of arms granted in Sussex has the blazon of an ermine field charged with a blue saltire between four griffins heads. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam Ailflet, which was dated 1221, in the register of the Abbey of Ely, Suffolk, 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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