This is an English suirname which is much associated with the counties of Lancashire and Yorkshire. According to the famous Victorian etymologist Canon Charles Bardsley, the origin is the Anglo-Saxon personal name Gilbert, through the short forms of Gill or Gibb, with the added diminutive suffix "-in", itself a short form of "kin", meaning close relative. What is certain is that in the medieval times when both surnames and nicknames were in the creative stage, much time must have been spent on working out new forms.This coupled with the general lack of education and the very thick local accents, which were almost separate languages, has given us today, the panorama of surnames of which over sixty thousand are native to the British Isles. As to when this surname was first recorded is unclear but the surviving church registers from the different counties show that it is pre Elizabethan. Early examples of the surname recording and showing its development over the centuries include: Johannes Gilberd in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, whilst Edward Gilpin, the father of Bernard Gilpin, known as the apostle of the north, was born in Kentmere in 1517. Richard Gilpin of Addingham appears in the Will Register of thge city of Chester in the year 1617, and Ann Giltpen, in a charming variant spelling, married Philip Hartley at St James Clerkenwell, London, in 1689.
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