This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin; it is found chiefly in Lancashire and the northern counties of England, and may be either a locational or a topographical surname. If the former, the name derives from the place called Heap (Bridge), now a locality in Heywood in Greater Manchester. The placename was recorded as "Hep" in 1226, and as "Hepe" in 1278, and is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "heap", mound, heap, hill. Locational surnames were acquired particularly as a means of identification y those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. As a topographical surname, Heaps and its variant forms Heap and Heape denoted residence by a hill or a heap, from the Olde English "heap", as before. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both natural and man-made features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages. Examples of the surname from Church Registers include: the marriage of John Heaps and Ann Johnson, at Moltram in Longdendale, Cheshire, on October 27th 1594, and the marriage of George Heaps and Anna Sunderland, on January 29th 1609, in Sheffield, Yorkshire. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts, on a silver shield, a red chevron between two red crescents in chief and a dexter arm embowed couped fesseways, wielding a sword, all red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Hep, which was dated 1226, in "Records of Lancashire Land Charters", 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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