Recorded in several spellings including Warf, Wharf, Wharfe, and Whorf, this is an English surname. It is sometimes residential, describing a person who was associated with the River Wharf in Yorkshire, or it was occupational, originally describing a person who probably owned a wharf or dock, and may well have lived there as well. The derivation in anycase is from the pre 7th century Olde English ''hwerf", itself an indication that specially constructed loading areas for ships have been around for a very long time, whilst the River Wharf itself was navigable in those far off days. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created, although unlike locational surnames they were not at first hereditary, and only became so when the son, or perhaps even grandson, took over the father's business. The first known recording is believed to be that of Alan ate Warf, in the records known as the 'Letter Books of the City of London', for the year 1320, whilst John le Wharfager, appears in the same registers but for the year 1322. The name as a locational name is well recorded in Yorkshire, and particularly at Gargrave and Horton in Ribblesdale. These recordings include Edmund Warugh at Aldborough, near Boroughbridge on February 11th 1560, and Isabell Wharfe at Gargrave on November 4th 1571.
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