This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an aphetic form of the given name Christopher. This name was made popular by St. Christopher, who was a Lycian martyred under the Roman Emperor Decius in 250 A.D. According to legend, he was a man of gigantic stature and was first named "Offeros". One night he helped a child cross a river; he waded into the stream with the child on his shoulder, but as the stream grew deeper his burden seemed to grow heavier than the largest man, and the child explained that He was Christ, laden with the sins of the world and gave him the new name "Christopheros", "Christ-bearer".The popularity of the name is borne out by the number of surnames it generated, ranging from Christopher, Christofor and Christoffe to Stopper, Stopher and Stoffer. Roger Cristofore is noted in the Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire (1379), but the fore-shortened form is not recorded until the 15th Century (see below). Gyelles Stofer is listed in the 1568 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Recordings of the surname from Suffolk Church Registers include: John, son of William Stopher, who was christened on June 16th 1611, at St. Nicholas's, Ipswich; and Deborah, daughter of William and Ann Stopher, who was christened on December 23rd 1675 at Earl Soham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Stopper, which was dated 1471, in the "Register of the Guild of the Corpus Christi in the City of York", during the reign of King Edward 1V, known as "The Self Proclaimed King", 1461 - 1483. 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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