Recorded in several spellings including Gough, Goff, Goffe, Goth, Gouth, and unusual dialectals such as Coath and Couth, this interesting surname is usually English when recorded in England. It has two known origins. The first is occupational from the Cornish word and Breton word "goff" meaning a smith. This form may have been introduced into England by the followers of William the Conqueror after the Conquest of 1066. Job-descriptive surnames originally only became hereditary when a son, or possibly a grandson, followed his father into the same line of business. The second possible origin is Welsh from the ancient word "coch" meaning red. As such it was probably given as an ethnic nickname to an Anglo-Saxon, as many of these people had red hair or a red complexion. Sometimes the initial "g" was interchanged with "c", but this may be put down to poor reading and writing, as well as strong dialects. Early examples of recordings from church registers of the city of London include the marriage of Elizabeth Gough and Rychard Walker on February 1st 1549, at St. Michael's Bassishaw; and the christening of Elizabeth Coath, the daughter of Richard Coath, at Wandsworth, on December 3rd 1653. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Griffin Gogh. This was dated 1287, in the Assize Court Rolls of the county of Cheshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st. He was known to history as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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