In the list of English surnames associated with the keeping and breeding of cattle, this is the rarest form. Recorded in the surviving late medieval church registers as Heffer, Heffor, Heifer, and the later Hepher, the surname is seemingly job descriptive for a person resonsible for keeping the young female cattle. It was first recorded in the Cambridge area, an area greatly associated with cattle breeding. More popular surnames are Bull, Stott, and Palfrey, but all have the same roots in the pre 7th century Olde English agricultural scene. In some cases it is claimed, the names are not occupational, but nicknames for one who possessed the claimed characteristics of the animal, and no doubt Robert le Bool, recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of the county of Sussex in the year 1327, was such a person.Early examples of this surname include Alice Heifer, christened at Oakington, Cambridge, the early epicentre of the name, on October 30th 1599, John Heffor, who married Ann Bullyn (but not THE Ann Boleyn), on November 2nd 1602 at Girton, Cambridge, and Eliza Hepha who married the quaintly named Smithee Sutton, at St Pancras Old Church, London, on January 27th 1856. The first known recording is probably that of Robert Heffer, a witness at Oakington, Cambridge, on July 5th 1573. This was during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st of Engalnd, 1558 - 1603.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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