This is a locational surname of Olde English pre 7th century origins. It derives from the Warwickshire village of 'Ipsley' which was originally called 'Epelslei' and is so recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. The village name started to change about the time of Richard 1st, Richard The Lionheart, and in 1190 it is recorded as 'Ypeslea', the middle English form. The village name means 'the clearing or farm (leah) on the small hill (yppe)'. Locational surnames of this type often resulted from the 'clearance' of the original village following the local Enclosure Act. When this happened the tenants were often forced to leave, and in so doing they took (or were given) as their surname, that of their former home. Given haphazard spelling and thick dialects, the results were sometimes surprising! In this case the surname is recorded as Ipsley, Epsly, Epsley, and Hippesley, (although with many variants of each) with Hippesley being the most usual spelling. Examples of the surname recordings include Banaliell Ipsley, christened at St Margarets, Westminster on September 9th 1635, and Anne Eplsey, who married Thomas Watts at the famous church of St Mary Le Bone, London, on May 21st 1714. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Charles Hippsley, which was dated October 16th 1623, who was christened at St Brides, Fleet Street, London, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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