This most interesting and curious surname is ultimately of Old French origin, and is a Welsh patronymic form of Humphrey, which derives from the Old French male personal name "Humfrey", composed of the Germanic elements "hun-", bear cub, and "-frid, -fred", peace, which was introduced to Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066, and was borne by a 9th Century saint, bishop of Therouanne, who had a certain following in England among Norman settlers. The name Humphrey itself is not found often in early Welsh records, and its use there must have started rather late, but was early enough to have "ab" formations. The surname Bumphrey means "son of Humphrey", as it is composed of the Welsh prefix "ab, ap", son of, and Humphrey, with a silent "h", Umphrey. Hence the name may be found as Umfrey, Umffrey, Bummfrey, Boumphrey, Pumfrey, Pomphrey and Pumphreys. Edward ap Humfrey is mentioned in Shropshire Records in 1575. Other recordings include the marriage of Susan Bumfery to Thomas Phillips on October 9th 1639, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and the marriage of Anne Bumphrey and James Hartland Hill on May 1st 1821, at Tewkesbury in Gloucestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Humfrey, which was dated 1240, in the "Feet of Fines of Bedfordshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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