This very unusual surname is found in the early records as Pyffe and Piffe. There are several possible origins; however, the records suggest a probable association with the Ancient British and later Welsh "Pefr" translating as "radiant or bright" or the Olde English "pypp(el)", a pebble. In both cases the name is probably associated with a river or stream, and is therefore habitational for one who lived at such a place. It is also possible that the name could derive from the pre 9th Century Anglo-Saxon "pfiffe" which means literally "whistle" and would therefore have been a nickname. The name is particular to the Gloucester - Worcester area, which would seem to confirm the Ancient British origin, and all early recordings come from this area. The first recorded holder (below) was also found spelt as "Pyffee", and other recordings include; William Piffe of Bishop's Cleeve on March 20th 1618, whilst Ana Piff, the daughter of Richardi and Anae Piff, was christened at Elmstone Hardwick, Gloucestershire, on February 19th 1682. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Annys Pyffe, which was dated November 8th 1590, marriage to John Beard, at Painswick, Gloucester, 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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