Recorded in over seventy different spellings from Christof, Kristofer, and Cristofori, to Stoff, Stoffel, Stoffer, Stuff, Stuffin, Stuffings, Toff and Toffano, is of Ancient pre Christian origins. It derives from the Greek word "kristos" meaning leader, whilst the later Roman (Latin) "Christopherus", has the addition of a second element "pher", meaning to follow. As a personal name it was originally carried by a 3rd century saint, the patron saint of travellers. In the period known as "The dark ages", between the fourth and tenth centuries a.d., the name was popular amongst many Christians who wished to ensure that at all times they were close to their spiritual leader. The popularity of the name increased greatly in Europe during the 11th and 12th centuries, when Crusaders returning from the Holy Land started to call their children by biblical names in commemoration of the fathers visit. In England it is also possible that some of the earliest recordings refer to "holy men", followers of Christ, and probably doers of good works,but not clergy or members of the established church. Most surname forms are from nickname versions of Christopher, in this case just the centre part Stof, with its diminutives and patronymics such as Stofins and Stuffins. The earliest examples of the surname recording are to be found in England. These include include Roger Christofore in the Poll Tax rolls of the county of Yorkshire in 1379, and in Germany, Johan Christofori of the city of Mainz, in the year 1422.
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