Recorded in the spellings of Turfitt, Turfitte, Turfett, Turfotte, and no doubt many others, this is a surname of Norse-Viking origins. It derives from the pre 8th century personal name 'Torfinnr' often shortened to 'Torf', and a development of the ancient Scandinavian gods name 'Thor' preserved in the modern 'Thursday'. In fact it is the same dialectal change which has brought 'Torfinnr' to 'Torf' and then 'Turf', and to this has been added the Norman French diminutive ending 'et', to mean 'Little Torf' or more logically 'The son of Torf'. This surname is widely recorded in the late medieval church register, in fact it dates back to the very beginnings of these registers, which were in a sense the work of the much, and usually rightly, maligned, King Henry V111. Examples of these early recordings include Edward Turfitte, who married Dorcas Austen at St Stephen church, Coleman Street, London, on February 10th 1561. From this date on for the next hundred years, this church became associated with the surname, and it is probable that all surviving nameholders today are related to Edward Turfitte. Other examples are Elysabeth Torfeytt, christened at St Stephens on October 10th 1575, and Elizabeth Turfett christened at St Stephens on July 5th 1584. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Turfotte, which was dated November 20th 1550, christened at St Olaves, Old Jewry, London, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as 'The boy king', 1547 - 1554. 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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