Cofen History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The name Cofen is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It was a name given to a person who made baskets. The surname Cofen is derived from the Old French words cofin and coffin, which in turn come from the Late Latin word cophinus, which means basket. Occupational names such as this one frequently were derived from the principal object associated with the activity of the original bearer, such as tools or products. These types of occupational surnames are called metonymic surnames. The English word coffin is a specialized development of this word which did not exist before the 16th century. The surname Cofen may also be a nickname derived from the Latin word calvus, which means bald.
Early Origins of the Cofen family
The surname Cofen was first found in Devon at Alwington, a parish, in the union of Bideford, hundred of Shebbear, Great Torrington. "In the church [of Alwington], over the door of the chancel, is a curious ancient monument to a member of the Coffin family." 
"Abbotsham, [Devon] was anciently part of the estates of the Abbey of Tavistock, whence its name; but early in the seventeenth century belonged to the Coffin family, who have been seated at Portledge, in the adjoining parish of Alwington, almost from the time of the Conquest, and who continued there in the male line until the death of Richard Coffin in 1766. The family has produced many men of note, Sir William Coffin, Master of the Horse at the coronation of Anne Boleyn, and a prominent participator in the Field of the Cloth of Gold, being of the number. The Coffins spread also into the adjoining parish of Parkham." 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 has a range of spellings for the family: Richard Chaufin, Nottinghamshire; Robert Coffyn, Lincolnshire; and William Coffyn, Devon. 
Early History of the Cofen family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Cofen research. Another 70 words (5 lines of text) covering the years 1571, 1626, 1571, 1585, 1588, 1592, 1593, 1594, 1597 and 1598 are included under the topic Early Cofen History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Cofen Spelling Variations
Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Cofen include Coffin, Coffyn, Colvin, Caffin, Caffyn, Chafen, Chaffine and many more.
Early Notables of the Cofen family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: Edward Coffin alias Hatton (1571-1626), English Jesuit, born at Exeter in 1571, and arrived at the English college at Rheims on 19 July 1585. On 26 July 1588 he entered...
Another 37 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Cofen Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Cofen family
Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Cofen were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Francis Coffin who settled in Virginia in 1635.
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The Cofen Motto +
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Extant recte factis praemia
Motto Translation: Rewards await right actions.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Worth, R.N., A History of Devonshire London: Elliot Stock, 62, Paternoster Row, E.G., 1895. Digital
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)