This interesting and unusual surname, though apparently originating as a nickname for someone who had sailed around Cape Horn on the southern tip of South America, is, in fact a French occupational name for a robe-master or maker of hoods. The derivation is from the old Norman French "Capron", (Old French "Chaperon"), a hood or cap worn by nobles. The surname first appears on record in the early part of the 12th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include: Roger Caperun or Chaperon, "Records of Bury St.Edmunds", Suffolk (1154 - 1164). In the "modern" idiom, the name is also spelt Capur, Capern and Caporn. Recordings of the variants from London church registers include the christening of Mary, daughter of Richard Caporne, in St. Dunstans, Stepney, on January 22nd 1608; the marriage of William Capurne to Johan Black in St. Katherine by the Tower on June 17th 1626 and the christening of one, Joseph Caporn in St. James, Clerkenwell on August 1st 1725. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Caperun, which was dated 1130, "The Pipe Rolls of Berkshire", during the reign of King Henry 1, "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. 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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