This ancient and distinguished surname with no less than five Coats of Arms, is of Old Scandinavian origin, and derives from the Old Norse male given name "Tofi", Old Danish "Tovi", a short form of any of the various compound names, for example "Thorrvaldr", whose first element is the divine name "Thorr", the God of Thunder in Scandinavian mythology, while the second always begins with "f" or "v", as in "valdr", rule. Pre 7th Century Anglo-Saxon and Old Norse given names, usually distinctive compounds whose elements were often associated with the Gods of Fire, Water and War, were no doubt bestowed for their auspicious connotations. Towthorpe in the East Riding of Yorkshire, recorded as "Touetorp" in the Domesday Book of 1086, has the Old Norse "Tofi" as an initial element, with "thorp", village, settlement. This ancient forename was originally introduced into England by Tovi the Proud, a follower of Canute, the Dane, who ruled England from 1016 - 1035. He signs himself in 1033 as "Tovi Pruda", and he was Harold's forerunner in the foundation of Waltham. The name is found in Domesday as "Tovi" or "Tovius", and in 1177, one Toui Hering appears in the 1177 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk. On February 4th 1793, John Tovey and Hannah Jewitt were married at Doncaster, Yorkshire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a gold shield with two black bars, in chief three fleurs-de-lis of the last, the Crest being a two-headed silver eagle displayed, charged on the brest with a saltire proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Toui, which was dated 1197, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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