This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an example of the sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to occupation, or to a variety of features, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animals or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hoppian", to hop, leap, dance, and would have been a nickname for a restless individual with plenty of energy, or an occupational name for a professional tumbler or acrobat at a fair. Richard le Hoppar is noted in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire. The name was also recorded early in Scotland in 1275 when one Robert Hopper witnessed a charter of lands in Raynigton to the Abbey of Coldstream. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Happer and Hopper. On April 21st 1572, Nicholas Happer married Sicela Nychollson at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and the christening of Thomas, son of Thomas and Agnes Happer, took place at Duns, Berwickshire, on February 13th 1684. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Waldr' le Hoppere, which was dated 1203, in the "Pipe Rolls of Wiltshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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