The Welsh surname Vaughn is derived from the Welsh term fychan, a lenited form of bychan, a diminutive of bach meaning “little.” This was often used to distinguish the younger of two bearers of the same personal name. Early bearers of the name include Rys Vychan in 1248, William Vachan in 1275, and Jeuan Vaghann in 1391, all found recorded in the registers of West Wales. Somewhat later Evan Vaughan of Shropshire is listed in the Register of the University of Oxford for 1601, whilst Jenkyn Vaughan was the prebendary of St Davids, Harlech, in 1621. Notable bearers of the name include Richard Vaughan, Solicitor to Queen Elizabeth I in 1580, and the poet Henry Vaughan (1622 - 1695).
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