This interesting name, with variant spellings Pawfoot, Payfoot, Paffot and Paffit, recorded in church registers of Sussex and London from the late 16th Century appears to have two distinct possible origins. The first is a curious nickname from the Medieval English "pa" (Anglo-Saxon "pawa") meaning a "peacock", plus "fot", a foot; hence, "pawefot" - a name presumably given to one who walked like a peacock. The second possibility is that the name is a diminutive of Paffe, a German form of Pope, chiefly found in the Rhine land. The derivation is through the German "Pfaffe", a priest, from the late latin "papa", a bishop or pope - a name originally acquired by someone who played the part of the pope in a medieval pageant. On September 19th 1675, one, Sarah Payfoot was married in Oving, Sussex, and on April 11th 1697, Elizabeth Paffott an infant, was christened in Mid Lavant. Sarah Paffett and Richard Styles were married in St. Clement Danes, Westminster, London, on July 15th 1792, and on March 29th 1840 Victoria Paffett was christened in St. Mary Magdalene's, Hastings, Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ellinor Pawfoot, (christened), which was dated February 14th 1582, Sidlesham, Sussex, 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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