This interesting and unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Heptonstall in West Yorkshire. As a separate village or settlement it is first recorded in 1274 as Heptonstall, and means "The cattle station belonging to Hebden". Hebden and Hebden Bridge were a separate villages of which it would seem that Heptonstall was a subsiduary, where the cattle were raised. The origination of Hebden was the pre 7th century word "Heopedenu". This is composed of the elements "heope", meaning rose-hip, "denu", a valley, and "stall", a cattle-station.Hebden is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, whilst nearby Hebden Bridge appears as Heppedene in the Yorkshire Assize Rolls, of 1279. This also shows the early change of "b" to "p"to aid pronunciation. The surname spellings as taken from surviving Yorkshire registers include Heptinstall in 1558, Heptynstaule in 1567 and Hepinstall in1668. The modern surname has a wide variety of spellings including Heptonstall, Heptinstall, Heppenstall, Hepplestall, Heppenspall and Hempenstall. As an example Gulielmus Hepplestall was christened at Ripon in Yorkshire, on November 1st 1574. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Heptonstall. This was dated 1296, in the Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, and known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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