This ancient surname, recorded as Capron, Capuron, Capern, and Caporn, is derived from the pre 10th Century Old French "aperon". Introduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion of England, the surname was originally job descriptive for a maker of special hats and hoods called 'chaperons'. In the complicated social structure of the medieval period, 'chaperons' could only be worn by the nobility, senior clergy, or persons holding the post of 'Robe Master', in a royal or noble household. The 'chaperon' itself is a distinguished charge in heraldry, and when used, usually in the crest, was intended to imply that the holder of the arms was of noble birth, or held a suitably high post. To be caught wearing a chaperon when not empowered to do so, was similar to impersonating an officer, and a criminal act, then punishable by a stay in the stocks or even death for multiple offences. In 1380 in the reign of Richard 11, (1377 - 1399), one Roger Chaperon was appointed the Master of the Royal Robes, although it said that this appointment was coincidental to the holdes surname, the surname having been in use for at least 200 years prior. The early examples of the recordings include Roger Caperun of Suffolk in 1173, William Capron of Lincoln in the year 1250, and John Capurne in the charters of the city of Norwich in 1503. The ancient arms have the blazon of a black field, on a silver chevron between three lozenges each charged with an ermine spot, another chevron in red. The crest is a gold cross flory. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Caperun. which was dated 1130, in the pipe rolls of the county of Berkshire". during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Administrator", 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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