This most interesting and unusual surname is an Anglicized form of the Germanic surname "Pfaeffle", a derivative of "Pfaff", from the German "pfaffe", cleric, parson, or "papst", pope. This is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitually use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation or a variety of qualities, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress.In the early Christian Church, the Latin term "papa", bishop, pope, was used as a title of respect for the male clergy of every rank, but in the Western Church it gradually came to be restricted to bishops and then only to the bishop of Rome. The nickname would have been given to someone who performed sacerdotal functions, or to one whose behaviour, spirit or appearance resembled that of a priest or pope. On February 14th 1580, Andreas, son of Jakob and Apollonia Pfaff, was christened at Durrenzimmern, Neckarkreis, Wuertt; Hans Pfeffle married Barbara Doll, on December 2nd 1652, at Darrenzimmern, Jagstkreis, Wuertt, Germany; and Christopher Albert, son of Christopher and Katherine Paffley, was christened at Wakefield, Yorkshire, on November 10th 1894. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anderl Pfeffel, which was dated 1396, in "Medieval Records of Budweis", Germany, during the reign of Wenceslas of Bohemia, 1378 - 1400. 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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