This very unusual name has two possible origins which have merged to form the modern surname 'Chapleo, Chaplow, Chapelhow' etc. The name may have come from the French occupational name 'Chapellier', (a maker of cloaks or hats) or from 'Chapleanx', a nickname for a habitual wearer of a distinctive cloak or hat. It is likely to be of Huguenot origin, since the majority of recordings of the name in its anglicized versions occur in the 17th Century and 18th Century. The second possible origin is English and topographical meaning 'one who lives at or near the chapel-how', i.e.the chapel on the hill, from the Middle English 'chapell' and 'how', a small hill or mound. This source is particularly from Westmoreland, Cumberland and Yorkshire. There are very many variants of the name and there is obviously some confusion of the original sources. Richard Chapleo, son of John and Martha, was christened at the Roman Catholic Church in Leyburn in June 1813. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Chappelhow, christened, which was dated 27th February 1541, Lowther, Westmoreland, during the reign of King Henry VIII, Bluff King Hal, 1509 - 1547. 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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