This is a very old French word introduced after the 1066 Norman Invasion which relates to a maker (or possibly the wearer) of a distinctive cloak or hat worn by a clergyman. The same form of the name is found in 'Chapel' although quite what the connection is, is by no means clear. The modern spellings are, Chapp and Chape, both are rare, which is not perhaps surprising. The name is also found as a pure job description name as in, Chapeler. However, the initial description here is for one who made hats with herladic designs, perhaps because there was insufficient work on purely religious headwear. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Reginald Chape which was dated 1297 The Rolls of the Duchy of Cornwall during the reign of King Edward 1 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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