This unusual and interesting name derives ultimately from the Old Germanic personal name "Hrodwulf", which is composed of the elements "hrod", meaning "renown" and "wulf", wolf. In Old Norse the contracted form was "Hrolfr", in Old Danish and Old Swedish "Rolf", and these personal names reached England first through their popularity with Scandinavian settlers before the Norman Conquest of 1066. The Normans thereafter introduced their own form of the name, generally found as "Rou" or "Roul" and often Latinized as "Rollo".There are more than twenty variants of the modern surname, ranging from "Rolf", "Rolfe", "Rolph" and "Roalfe" to "Rofe", "Roff", "Roffe", "Roof", "Rulf" and "Rule". The marriage of John Roffe and Elizabeth Blythe was recorded at St. Stephan's, Coleman Street, London, on November 3rd 1560. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Rolf, which was dated 1272, in the "Customary Laws of Battle Abbey, Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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