Recorded in several spellings including Clapshaw, Clapshew, Clapshore, and possibly others, this is an English locational surname. It originates from a place which means 'Clap's wood', the prefix being a personal name of pre 7th century origin, and found in such place names as Clapcot in Berkshire, Clapham, now part of Geater London, and Clapdale in West Yorkshire. Clap(p) itself is from the Olde English world 'clop' used to describe a hillock, so in some cases the place name and the personal name are the same, or at least have the same meaning. The difficulty with Clapshaw is that no such place exists, nor seems to have existed for some considerable period of time. It would therefore seem to be another to add to the estimated three thousand 'lost' medieval villages of the British Isles, which have provided surnames. As to why these places disappeared has been the subject of several books, but changes in farming practices, land drainage, enclosure, and growing urbanisation are the usual culprits although coastal erosion, the great plagues and even war, have played a part. An early example of this name is that of the exotically named Theodosia Clapshaw, who was christened at St Lukes Chelsea, London, on October 24th 1680.
© Copyright: Name Origin Research 1980 - 2017