The surname of CLUFF was a locational name 'dweller in the hollow or steep-sided valley', from the Old English 'Cloh' meaning ravine. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived.
The name has many variant spellings which include Clewler, Clulow, Cluley, and Cluelow. Early records of the name mention Edric de Clewleye, 1273, County Yorkshire. Robert del Clough was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls, 1327, Derbyshire. Ralph Hordern and Anne Cluley were married at Prestbury Church, Cheshire in the year 1615. Elizabeth Clewly and John Paine were married at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in the year 1648.
The acquisition of surnames in Europe during the past eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in neighbouring cultures, and indigenous cultural tradition. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another reliably and unambiguously.
At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour.
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