This unusual surname, of Old French origin, was initially introduced into England in the wake of the Norman Conquest of 1066, and derives from the Old French "blanc", later "blam", white, and "pie, pied", foot, indicating that it originated either as a topographical name from residence at the foot of a hill covered in white chalky soil, or whitish vegetation, or as a nickname for someone distinguished by particularly white feet. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognizable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages, and nicknames were originally given with reference to personal characteristics, such as physical attributes and peculiarities. The surname first appears on English records towards the end of the 12th Century (see below), and is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of Jersey, the Channel Islands, and in London, from the early 17th Century, indicating that Blampied was re-introduced into Britain by French Huguenot refugees fleeing religious persecution in their own country during the 16th and 17th Centuries. On December 30th 1601, Marie Blampey and Thomas Lempriere were married at St. John's, Jersey, and on June 7th 1615, Marie Blampied married Thomas Cabot at Trinity, Jersey. The marriage of Catherine Blampied to Charles Francois Benoit took place at Bulligny, Meurthe-et-Moselle, France, on February 9th 1836. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Blancpie, which was dated 1198, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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