This very interesting surname is believed to be of English-Welsh medieval origins, but it has said that even that simple statement is clouded with some doubt. It was once claimed that the name was a short form of the surname 'Fewster'. This derives from the pre 10th century, Old French 'fustier', meaning a 'saddle-tree maker', but at best this prognosis seems unlikely. The earliest church recordings show that 'Few', the modern spelling, is a progressive development of 'Fewe', itself from 'Phehewe'- see below. Although we habe no absolutely conclusive evidence, we believe that the original 'Phehew' is a dialectal form of the Welsh 'Ap Hugh' i.e The son of Hugh, which is also recorded as 'Phugh'. In support of these observations we include the following examples of the surname recording commencing with Anne Phehew, the daughter of Robert Phehew, christened at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on September 27th 1584, and Dorothie Pehew, who was probably the sister of Anne, christened at the same church on October 26th 1589. Later recordings are those of Joane Fewe who married Alexander Willes at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on January 15th 1603, Ana Few, daughter of Edmond Few, christened at the church known as St Botolphs Without, in London, on October 9th 1653. Finally we have Robert Phugh, son of Richard Phugh, christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on March 30th 1685. The coat of arms granted in 1612 has the blazon of a blue field, a silver lion rampant armed and langued in red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Phehewe, which was dated July 7th 1582, christened at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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