THE ANCIENT HISTORY OF THE
The history of this most ancient Anglo-Saxon surname of the Chaffeys reaches far into the chronicles of the Saxon race. The Saxon Chronicle, compiled by the monks in the 10th century, now reposes in the British Museum.
History researchers have examined reproductions of such ancient manuscripts as the Doomsday Book (1086), the Ragman Rolls (1291-1296), the Curia Regis Rolls, the Pipe Rolls, the Hearth Rolls, Parish Registers, Baptismal, Tax Records and other ancient documents. They found the first record of the name Chaffey in Dorset, England, where they were first seated from very ancient times, some say well before the Norman Conquest and the arrival of Duke William at Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Different spellings were encountered in the research of your surname. Throughout the centuries your name, Chaffey, occurred in many records, manuscripts and documents but not always with the exact spelling. From time to time the surname included the spelling Chafy, Chafe, Chafee, Chaff, Chaffe, Chaffee, Chaffey, and these variations in spellings frequently occurred, even between father and son. Scribes and church officials, often traveling great distances, even from other countries, frequently spelt the names phonetically. As a result the same person would be recorded differently on birth, baptismal, marriage and death certificates as well as the other numerous records recording life's events.
The Saxon race gave birth to many English surnames not the least of which was the surname Chaffey. The Saxons were invited into England by the ancient Britons of the fourth century. A fair skinned people, there home was the Rhine valley, some came as far northeast Asia and Denmark. They were led by two brothers, General/Commanders Hen-gist and Horsa. The Saxons settled in the county of Kent, on the south-east coast of England. Gradually, they spread north and westward, and during the next four hundred years forced the ancient Britons back into Wales and Cornwall in the west, and Cumberland to the north. The Anglo Saxons occupied the eastern coast, the south folk in Suffolk, north folk in Norfolk. Under Saxon rule England prospered under a series of High Kings, the last of which was King Harold.
In 1066, the Normans invaded from France and were victorious at the battle of Hastings. In 1070, Duke William took an army of 40,000 north and wasted the northern counties, forcing many rebellious Norman nobles and Saxons to flee over the border into Scotland. Meanwhile, the Saxons who remained in the south were not treated well under hostile Norman rule, and they also moved northward to the Midlands, Lancashire and Yorkshire away from the aggression.
Nevertheless, this notable English family name, Chaffey emerged as an influential name in the county of Dorset where they were recorded as a family of great antiquity, seated at Sherborne with manor and estates in that shire. They later branched out to Stoke sub Hambdon in Somerset, and Winscot in Devon.. They also acquired through marriage Rouse Lench court in Worcestershire and held estates in Lancashire and Yorkshire. Notable amongst the family at this time was John and Reginald Chaffey who held the estates in Lancashire.
The surname Chaffey flourished during the turbulent middle ages,
contributing greatly to the cultural development of England. During the 15th, 16th, 17th,
and 18th centuries England was ravaged by plagues, famine, and religious conflicts.
Protestantism, the newly found political favor of Cromwellism and democratic government,
and remnants of the Roman Church rejected all non believers, each jealously claiming
adherents to there own cause. The changing rule caused burnings, hangings, and banishments
of all sects and creeds, first on then another.
Many families were freely "encouraged" to migrate to Ireland, or to the "colonies". Some were rewarded with grants of land, others were banished.
Some families were forced to migrate to Ireland where they became known as the "Adventurers for land in Ireland". Protestant settlers "undertook" to keep their faith, being granted lands previously owned by the catholic Irish. In Ireland they moved into the county of Galway where the name was generally accepted as Chaff.
The New World offered better opportunities and some migrated voluntarily, some were banished mostly for religious reasons. Some left Ireland disillusioned with promises unfulfilled, but many left directly from England, their home territories. Some also moved to the European continent.
Members of the family Chaffey sailed aboard an armada of three masted sailing ships known as the "White Sails" which plied the stormy Atlantic. These overcrowded ships such as the Hector, the Dove, and the Rambler, were pestilence ridden, sometimes 30% to 40% of the passenger list never reaching there destination, their numbers reduced by dysentery, cholera, small pox and typhoid.
Amongst the first settlers in North America, which could be considered a kinsman of the surname Chaffey, or a variable spelling of that family name was Thomas Chaffee who settled in Hingham Massachusetts in 1637 and moved to Swansea by 1660; Matthew Chaffee settled in Boston in 1630; James Chaffey settled in New England in 1762; Patrick Chaff settled in New England in 1767.
From the port of entry many settlers made their way west, joining the wagon trains to the prairies or to the west coast. During the American war of Independence, many loyalists made their way north to Canada about 1790, and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
Contemporary notables of this surname, Chaffey, include many distinguished contributors; Lewis Kenneth Chaffe, Tobacco Company Executive, Richmond, Virginia; John Lester Hubbard Chafee, American Lawyer, Politician, and Government Official, Greenwich, Rhode Island.
There were many Coats of Arms granted to different branches of the family name. The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms was: Red with a gold griffin with an ermine stripe of which there are three blue diamond shapes.
The Crest is: A Peacock.