This very unusual name is of early Medieval English and French origin, and was probably introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. It is a good example of that sizeable group of early English (and European) surnames that were created from the habitual use of a nickname, or byname. In this instance, the modern surname Tardif, Tardiff or Tardew derives from a medieval nickname for someone thought to be sluggish, slow or inactive, derived from the Middle English and Old French word 'tardif', Medieval French 'tardieu', slow, a derivative of the Latin 'tardivus', from 'tardus'. The surname development includes Hugh Tardy (1200, Lancashire) and Henry Tardi (1272, Nottinghamshire). One Rachel Tardiff married Henry Mallet on January 23rd 1725 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Tardif, which was dated 1115, The Winton Rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King Henry 1, 'The Lion of Justice', 1100-1135. 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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