This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "halig", meaning holy, and "prest", a priest; hence, "the Holy Priest". This probably originated as a nickname for a devoted or exceptionally holy priest, or perhaps for a saintly or very religious person. A sizeable group of early European surnames were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. The "h" was ignored at the start as was the case of scores of surnames registered in the Hundred Rolls of 1273 (see below). The high concentration of early recordings (including the first) come from Cambridgeshire and therefore suggests that it was here the surname originated. Recordings from Cambridgeshire Church Registers include: the marriage of Miles Allpress and Elizabeth Beaumont on July 10th 1652 at St. Gibs; the marriage of Sarey Allpress and John Sesson on January 31st 1664, in Caxton; and the marriage of Robert Allpress and Mary Froment on November 27th 1670, at St. Andrew the Great. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Alprest, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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