This unusual and interesting name is French in origin and is a topographical surname denoting someone who lived in or near a field or an expanse of open country. The derivation is from the Old French word "champ", meaning field or open land, from the Latin "campus", plain expanse of flat land. As a surname it could also apply to someone who lived in the countryside as opposed to a town. The modern English surname can be found as Camp, Campe and Champe. There are many European variations of the name, in French "Delcamp, Dechamp(s)" etc., in Italy, "Campi, Campari", etc., in Germany "Kampler" and so on. Early recordings of the surname from Yorkshire church registers include; Anne, daughter of Gilbert Campay, who was christened on September 13th 1653 at Little Ouseburn; on November 21st 1674, Gasparsis Campey married Anna Thomlinson at St. Lawrence; and the marriage of Francis Campey to Mary Hill to place on July 9th 1723, at Bolton Percy. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Joane Champe, christened, which was dated December 17th 1581, St. Andrew's, Enfield, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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