This surname is of Old Norse origin, and is a locational name from Copeland in Cumberland, or Coupland in Northumberland, both so called from the Old Norse "kaupland" meaning "bought land", a feature worthy of note during the early Middle Ages, when land was rarely sold, but held by feudal tenure and handed down from one generation to the next. The placenames are recorded as "Couplanda" (1125) in the Register of the Priory of St. Bees, and as "Coupland" (1242) in the Book of Fees, respectively. During the Middle Ages when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birthplace to seek work further afield, the custom developed that they would adopt the placename as a means of identification. The surname dates back to the early 13th Century (see below), and early recordings include: William de Copeland (1256) in the Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland, and Thomas Coupeland (1376) in the Feet of Fines of Essex. London Church Records list the marriage of Edward Copeland to Katheren Dodge on April 14th 1557 at Christ Church, Greyfriars, Newgate. A Coat of Arms granted to a Copeland family is silver, two red bars debruised by a black bend over all a red canton. The Crest is a lion passant proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Samson de Copland, which was dated 1204, in the "Pleas before the King and his Justice," during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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