This long-established and distinguished surname, with no less than fifteen Coats of Arms, and several notable entries in the "Dictionary of National Biography", is of Old French origin, and is an occupational name for a maker or seller of woollen cloth, deriving from the Old French "drapier", Anglo-Norman French "draper" (a derivative of "drap", cloth). Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. Early examples of the surname include: Robert le Drapier (Lincolnshire, 1181); Auwred le Draper (Cambridgeshire, 1273); and Johannes Drapour, "drapour", noted in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire. Notable bearers of the name include: Sir Christopher Draper, Lord Mayor of London (1567); Sir William Draper, lieutenant-general (1777), and lieutenant-governor of Minorca, 1779 - 1782; and Edward Alured Draper (1776 - 1841), page of honour to George 111. An early settler in the New World was Thomas Draper, aged 26 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Paule" bound for Virginia in July 1635. The surname Draper is widely recorded in Ireland from the 17th Century, and its early connection with Ulster, is perpetuated in the County Derry placename Draperstown. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is described thus: "Gules, four bendlets gold, on a chief per fess argent and ermines, three fleurs-de-lis sable". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Drapier, which was dated 1148, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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