This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a patronymic form of "Sever", which itself derives from an Olde English pre 7th Century female personal name, "Saefaru", composed of the elements "sae", sea, and "faru", a passage; hence, "sea passage", plus the metronymic "-s". Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Norse baptismal names were usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War. However, in some instances, the surname may have been a nickname for someone who was particularly austere or stern, from the Latin "severus". The personal name appeared as "Seuare" in 1185, in "The Records of the Knights' Templars in 12th Century England", (Somerset), and "Sephare", in 1188, in "The Kalendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds and Related Documents", (Suffolk). The surname first appears in the late 12th Century (see below) in Cornwall, while other early examples include Radulfus filius Sefare in 1221, in Records of Ely (Suffolk); Walter Sefare mentioned in 1230, in the Pipe Rolls of Cornwall; and Hugh Seuare, recorded in the Feet of Fines of Essex in 1285. One Hannah Severs married Thomas Winchester in 1668, at Hadley in London. A Coat of Arms granted to a Sever family in Oxford depicts a blue fess nebulee between three red annulets, on a silver field. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Seuare, which was dated 1185, in the "Pipe Rolls of Cornwall", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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