Tofts History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancestry of the name Tofts dates from the ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of Britain. It comes from when the family lived in the parish of Toft in the county of Norfolk. This place-name was originally derived from the Old Norman word Topt which was used to denote those who lived in the trees or forest. [1]

Toft is also "a township in the parish of Knutsford, Cheshire and is the parent of the Cheshire Tofts." [2]

The Domesday Book of 1086 has a variety of spellings for the various parishes: Toft, Cambridgeshire, Tofth; Toft Minks, Norfolk, Toft; and West Tofts, Norfolk, Toftes. [3]

"The name of Tofts is now best represented in the district of Bishop's Stortford [Hertfordshire]. Tofts is a Norfolk parish, and De Toftes was a Norfolk surname in the 13th century (H. R.). Two parishes in Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire are called Toft." [4]

Early Origins of the Tofts family

The surname Tofts was first found in Northumberland where Elyas del Toft was listed in the Pipe Rolls of 1197. [5] The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 proved the widespread use of the name at that time: Gundreda de Toftes, Norfolk; Eborard de Toft, Norfolk; Alan de Toft, Cambridgeshire; and Robert de Toft, Bedfordshire. [2]

The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 included an entry for Johannes Attn toftes et uxor and later, Hugh de Toft was recorded in East Cheshire in 1394. [2] The Subsidy Rolls for Suffolk included a listing of Gilbert de Toftes in 1327. John de Taft was recorded in the Assize Rolls for Cheshire in 1340. [5]

By the 12th century they had moved north and acquired the old lands and barony which they called Tofts in the parish of Kirkton in Roxburghshire, Scotland. Ingram de Toftes, Robert de Toftes, and William de Toftes all rendered homage in 1296 to King Edward I of England on his brief conquest of Scotland. William of Toftys was Rector of the church at Great Cauerys (Cavers) in 1363. [6]

Early History of the Tofts family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Tofts research. Another 97 words (7 lines of text) covering the years 1499, 1637, 1641, 1580, 1605, 1620, 1640, 1725, 1675, 1669, 1680, 1758, 1698, 1689, 1750 and 1708 are included under the topic Early Tofts History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Tofts Spelling Variations

Spelling variations in names were a common occurrence before English spelling was standardized a few hundred years ago. In the Middle Ages, even the literate spelled their names differently as the English language incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other European languages. Many variations of the name Tofts have been found, including Taft, Tafte, Toft, Tofte, Tofts, Tuffs and others.

Early Notables of the Tofts family (pre 1700)

Notables of this surname at this time include: Robert Toft (d. 1620), English poet and translator, a 'gentleman' who travelled in France and Italy. Robert Taft Sr. (c. 1640-1725) was the first US Taft and founder of the US Taft Family. Some sources claim he emigrated to the United States in 1675 arriving at Braintree in Massachusetts and others claim he arrived at Mendon in 1669. The Taft homestead was in Mendon but some of his children were born in Braintree. William Howard...
Another 83 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Tofts Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Tofts family

Families began migrating abroad in enormous numbers because of the political and religious discontent in England. Often faced with persecution and starvation in England, the possibilities of the New World attracted many English people. Although the ocean trips took many lives, those who did get to North America were instrumental in building the necessary groundwork for what would become for new powerful nations. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Tofts, or a variant listed above: Joseph Taft arrived in Maryland in 1774; Fred, R. and P. Taft, arrived in San Francisco in 1850; James Toft settled in New England in 1753; David Toft settled in Philadelphia in 1841..


Contemporary Notables of the name Tofts (post 1700) +

  • Chris M. N. Tofts (b. 1964), English computer scientist, a scientist at Hewlett-Packard (1999-2008), Fellow of the British Computer Society and Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Application
  • Catherine Tofts (d. 1756), or Katherine Tofts, the first English singer who sang Italian opera in England, inspiration of a Jonathon Swift poem in which he exalts her beauty


  1. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  2. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  4. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  5. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  6. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)


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