Recorded as Hartsop, Hartop, Hartup, Hartnup,and others, this is an English surname. It is locational and probably originates from Hartsop, a parish and village in the county of Westmorland, five miles north east of Ambleside. The placename itself probably derives from the pre 7th century words "heorot", meaning a stag and "topp", the top of a hill, hence "Stag's hilltop". Whether this actually referred to a place where stags gathered or whether it was a personal name for somebody called "Stag" is not proven. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original village to move somewhere else. In this case even four hundred year ago in the time of Queeen Elizabeth 1st (15598 - 1603), this surname had already moved far about the country. Examples include Thomas Hartoppe, whose daughter Joan was christened at St. Vedast church, Foster Lane, in the city of London in 1586, whilst far away at Fowey in Cornwall, Mary Hurtop married Thomas Williams on May 17th 1591. Back in London, Richard Hartupp was christened at St. James Clerkenwell, on January 12th 1612, whilst at St. Mary Magdalene, Canterbury in Kent, Joseph Hartop married Anne Dunnye on January 23rd 1625. Sir John Hartopp, third baronet (1658) became M.P. for Leicestershire (1678- 1681), and was also alderman of London. 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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