This interesting "Dichensian" surname is of English and Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century origin. It can be either locational or topographical. If locational, the source is the place in Lancashire in the parish of Bury near Manchester, called "Heap Bridge". The placename is first recorded as "Hep", in 1226 and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century word "heap", meaning heap, mound or hill. As a topographical name, "Heap" or its variant forms of Heape and Heaps, denotes residence by a hill or mound and is a good example of the very many early medieval surnames created from natural or man-made features in the landscape, such as "Hill", "Bridge", and "Brook". Alice Heap and Robert Firth were married on January 17th 1564 at Burnley, Lancashire, and on April 20th 1574, Catherine Heap was christened at St. Mary, Oldham, Lancashire. The marriage of Robert Heap and Elizabeth Normanton took place on November 30th 1583 in London. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is silver with a chevron between two crescents in chief and a dexter arm embowed couped fesseways, wielding a sword all red. A cross crosslet fitchee between two branches of palm in orle proper is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Hep, which was dated 1226, in the "Pipe Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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