Coffan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
- Origins Available:
The history of the name Coffan dates back to the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It is derived from a member of the family who worked as a person who made baskets. The surname Coffan 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 Coffan may also be a nickname derived from the Latin word calvus, which means bald.
Early Origins of the Coffan family
The surname Coffan 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 Coffan family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Coffan 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 Coffan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Coffan Spelling Variations
Only recently has spelling become standardized in the English language. As the English language evolved in the Middle Ages, the spelling of names changed also. The name Coffan has undergone many spelling variations, including Coffin, Coffyn, Colvin, Caffin, Caffyn, Chafen, Chaffine and many more.
Early Notables of the Coffan 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 Coffan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Coffan family
To escape the unstable social climate in England of this time, many families boarded ships for the New World with the hope of finding land, opportunity, and greater religious and political freedom. Although the voyages were expensive, crowded, and difficult, those families that arrived often found greater opportunities and freedoms than they could have experienced at home. Many of those families went on to make significant contributions to the rapidly developing colonies in which they settled. Early North American records indicate many people bearing the name Coffan were among those contributors: Francis Coffin who settled in Virginia in 1635.
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The Coffan 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)