This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is either a topographical name from residence by some rough enclosure, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "ruh", rough, and "(ge)haeg", enclosed piece of land, meadow, or a locational name from Roffey or Roughey, an ecclesiastical district and village in the Horsham parish of Sussex. Recorded as "La Rogheye" in the 1281 "Catalogue of Ancient Deeds" for Sussex, and as "Rozghee" in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls, the place was so called either from the Olde English "ruh(ge)haeg" (as above), or from the Olde English "rahhege", deer-fence, enclosure for roe-deer, a compound of "ra(h)", roedeer, roebuck, and "haeg".Topographical surnames were among the earliest created as both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and locational names were originally given to local landowners, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. On December 16th 1548, Annes, daughter of Edward Roffey, was christened at Bolney, Sussex, and on May 13th 1555, Thomas, son of Thomas and Alice Ruffey, was christened at Caterham, Surrey. A Coat of Arms granted to the Roffey family, is an azure shield with a gold lion passant, on a silver chief three Cornish choughs proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Amfr' de la Rogheye, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Kent", 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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