This French surname of SAFFER was an English/Norman name for a greedy person, derived from the Old French word SAFFRE (glutton). Other spellings of the name include SAFFILL, SAFFLE, SAFHILL, SAFFRE and LESAFFRE. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and the earliest of the name on record appears to be SAFUGEL (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1066. Willelmus filius SAFOUL was recorded in Lancashire in 1182, and Rannulfus filius SAFUGEL was documented in 1196. The Norman Conquest in England in the year of 1066 revolutionized our personal nomenclature. The old English name system was gradually broken up and old English names became less common and were replaced by new names from the continent. Most of the early documents deal with the upper classes who realised that an additional name added prestige and practical advantage to their status. Names of peasants rarely occurred in medieval documents. In 1086 the compilation of the Domesday Book was ordered by William the Conqueror (1027-87), king of England from 1066. He was born in Falaise, the bastard son of Robert, Duke of Normandy, by Arlette, a tanner's daughter. On his father's death in 1035, the nobles accepted him as a duke. When Edward the Confessor, King of England died in 1066, William invaded England that Autumn, on 14th October, 1066 killing Harold (who had assumed the title of King). English government under William assumed a more feudal aspect, the King's tenants-in-chief and all title to land was derived from his grants, and the Domesday Book contains details of the land settlements, and the names of the owners of such. Later instances include Robert SEFOUL who was recorded in 1279, and John SAFOUL appears in County Essex in the year 1376. As early as the year 1100, it was quite common for English people to give French names to their children, and the earliest instances are found among the upper classes, both the clergy and the patrician families. The Norman-French names used were generally the names most commonly used by the Normans, who had introduced them into England during the Norman Invasion of William the Conqueror in 1066.
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