Recorded in many forms including Woof, Wooff, Woulfe, Wolf, Woolfe, Wulff, Wolff, and Ulph, this is an English surname. However its origins are Norse-Viking pre 7th century. It derives from the Olde Norse byname Ulfr or the Olde Swedish Ulf, both meaning 'Wolf'. Ulf was the name of the brother-in-law of the famous King Canute of England (1016 - 1035), and the name appears as Ulfus in the Domesday Book of 1086. The surname is first recorded in the early part of the 12th Century, (see below). Early excamples of the surname recording taken from surviving rolls, charters and registers of those ancient times include examples such as Robert Vlf and Robert Wulf in the pipe rolls of the counties of Norfolk and London respectively in the year 1166. In the 13th and 14th Centuries the surname was frequently written with the article 'le' as in John le Wlf of Sussex, in 1273 and John le Wolf of Bedfordshire, 1279. These may well have been nicknames. The forms as Woofe, Wooff and Woffe are particularly well recorded in the church registers of the city of London from the late 16th Century, and random examples include John Woofe and Dorete Robenson were married at St. Stephan's, Coleman Street, on May 1st 1575, whilst on February 25th 1671 Maria Wooffe, was christened at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, and Michael Wooff married Sarah Poxon at All Hallows, London Wall, on March 24th 1705. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alwinus Wlf. This was dated 1125, in the calendar of the abbey of Bury St. Edmunds', Suffolk, during the reign of King Henry Ist known as the Lion of Justice, 1100 - 1135.
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