This interesting and unusual name with variant spelling Ruffell, is a dialectal variant, found mainly in Essex of the English surname "Rolf", which itself derives from the Medieval English personal name "Rolf", composed of the Germanic elements "hrod", renown and "wulf", wolf. Rolf was especially popular among Nordic peoples in the contracted form "Hrolfr" and appears to have been introduced into England through two separate channels, partly from amongst the pre-Conquest Scandinavian settlers, but more likely in this case from its popularity among the Normans who generally used the form "Rou(l)".The personal name "Rolf" first appears in the Domesday Book 1086 in Northumberland and Norfolk, while one Martin Rof, mentioned in the Fees Records of Devonshire in 1242 is the first evidence of the surname "Rolf". William and Grace Ruffle, had daughters Grace and Rose, christened at Bulmer, Essex on March 8th 1595 and October 29th 1598 respectively. One John Ruffle was christened at Bulmer on September 29th 1596. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William and Grace Ruffle, (marriage), which was dated July 26th 1590 at Bulmer Essex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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