Recorded in a number of spellings as shown below, this is an English and French surname. It originates from the pre 8th century word 'chapelain' meaning and is occupational surname for a clergyman or for someone employed as the servant of a clergyman. The name derives from the Middle English and Old French word 'chapelain', meaning a chantry priest, a priest endowed to sing mass daily on behalf of the souls of the dead. The Old French derives from the Latin 'capella', meaning chapel or sanctuary. The surname development includes Thomas le Chapelyn (1241, Cambridgeshire) and Robert Chaplyn of London in 1493. The variations of the modern surname include Chaplain, Chaplin, Chapling, Caplin, Chaperling, Caperling, Chiplen, Chiplin, Shiplin and others, with Elizabeth Chiplin being christened on July 2nd 1704 at St. Anne's Soho, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Capelein. This was dated 1203, in the Curia Regis rolls of Hampshire, during the reign of King John of England, 1199-1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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