Found in several spelling forms, this unusual surname is of English origins. The eminent Victorian etymologist Can C W Bardsley considered that it was a dialectal variant of Harpin, itself a derivative of the pre 9th century Norse-Viking 'Harfinn'. However it is more probably a variant of the English baptismal name 'Alpe'- meaning 'the finch' plus a shortened form of 'kin' - to imply 'Son of Alpe'. Diminutives and patronymics are the most popular group of surnames, and we see no reason why Holpin, Holpen, Halpen, Halpin, etc, should be different.Whilst many surnames lost their 'h', equally many gained one, which seems to be the case here. One other possible origin which cannot be totally ignored is that one of the popular medieval forms of Henry and Harry was 'Hal', Henry V111 being known (but not to his face!), as Bluff King Hal, so we could have 'the son of Hal' as a meaning. In so far as the name has an epi-centre, this would seem to have been Warwickshire, although 'Alpe' was originally centred on Norfolk. Early recordings include Richard Halpeine, the son of William, christened at St Martins, Birmingham on February 14th 1602, Jone Alpyn, who married Bryan Reynolds at St Margarets, Westminster on November 27th 1643, and James Holpin, a witness at Rotherham, Yorkshire, on January 18th 1739. The Coat of Arms is a silver field charged with a black fretty and a red fleur de lis. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Halpine, which was dated November 15th 1579, at St Martins Church, Birmingham, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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