Recorded in three known spellings, Escofier, Escoffier, and the unusual d'Escoffier, this is a surname of ancient occupational French Provencal origins. It derives from the verb 'escofia' meaning to dress, and was occupational for a leather manufacturer or merchant, one who supplied finished leather goods. It may be that there is, or perhaps more likely, there was, a place called 'Escofia' or similar, which may then account for the occasional use of the prefix d' by some name holders, a form which implies nobility and land ownership. The surname is also a Huguenot protestant refugee name, and recorded in England since the 17th century. Provencal and Languedoc were regions of France which had large numbers of protestants, many of whom fled to England, during the purges by the religious maniac, King Louis X1V of France. The first of these may have been Jean or John Escoffier, who married Elizabeth Porter, at St James church, Dukes Place, London, on May 29th 1685. Whilst the Escoffier surname is recorded in France from the 17th century, all be it, rather erractically, almost all the really early registers, which in Britain often date back to the 14th century, were destroyed during the Revolution of 1789 - 1794. This was also a period when the Roman Catholic church itself was banned, as the clergy were regarded by the Revolutionaries as being spies in the pay of the king, and the registers, part of the tools of the trade, all of which was probably correct. Examples of recordings include Sebastien Escoffier of La Chappelle, department of Ardeche, on July 26th 1649, and Maurice Escoffier, at Cernex St Martin, department of Haute-Savoie, on July 1st 1809, during the reign of the Emperor Napoleon, 1800 - 1815.
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