This very rare surname is quite well recorded in Yorkshire, which seems to be its place of origin. It is either a dialectal variant of the popular locational surname 'Upton' as seems most likely, or it may derive from some lost medieval village, of which there are several thousand examples. 'Upton' translates as 'The Upper Farm' from the Olde English pre 7th century 'upa tun'. The surname of Epton is apparently first recorded at the beginning of the 17th century, a period of great religious and consquently, social unrest. It was also the period of change from the Middle English language of Chaucer, and to a lesser extent, Shakespeare, to what can be described as the modern form. This in itself was responsible for many changed spellings of surnames. 'Epton' as a surname seems to have started life in the West Riding of Yorkshire, and gradually moved East, eventually to Beverley and Hull, where almost all recordings are found after the year 1750. Examples of the recordings include James Epton, who married Ann Hustwick at the church of St John and St Mary, Beverley, on January 7th 1782. It would seem that his first wife Ann died because on December 13th 1787, the same James Epton is again recorded at the same church when he married a Mary Camplin. Amongst the later recordings is that of Sarah Epton, who married William Desforges at Sculcoates, near Hull, on July 20th 1837 and Henry Fluker Epton, christened at St Leonards Church, New Malton, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, on May 27th 1840. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Epton, which was dated February 11th 1604, married Maria Helywell, at Bradford, Yorkshire, 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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