Recorded in several forms including Godsafe, Godslave, Godsave, Godsiff, and Godsiffe, this is a medieval English surname. It originates from the use of the phrase "On god's behalf", one of the many semi-religous terms which formed part of everyday language in the Middle Ages from about the 12th century. It is generally regarded as being a nickname for one who used the term habitually, but it may also have referred to a holyman, possibly a pilgrim who went about gods work, but not as a member of the established church. What is certain is that the surname has had a long and honourable history. The first known recording may well be that of Henry a Godeshalve, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridgge in 1273, with Henry Godspart being recorded in the county of Somerset around the same date. Listed in the records of the Privvy Purse of Princess Mary, (later Queen Mary of England, 1554 - 1558) is the reference as follows "Item, geven to the nurce and mydwife of Maistres Godeshalf, my ladies grace being godmother to his childe". In 1607 Bryan Godsalfe is recorded in Berwick, with Godsiffe being a later variant, much associated with the city of Liverpool.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017