This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a patronymic form of "Jepp(e)" or "Gepp", diminutives of the Norman personal name "Jeufroi" or "Geuffroi", which appears in Middle English as "Geffrey". This name has an interesting, if complicated origin, since two or possibly three Old German given names have fallen together in the course of its formation. These names are "Gaufrid, Galfrid" and "Gisfrid", all sharing a common second element "frithu", peace. The initial elements are respectively: "gau", territory, district or land; "gala", song; and "gir", pledge. In early medieval Latin records, the name occurs as "Gaufridus, Galfridus" and "Goisfridus", forms which also appear in the Domesday Book of 1086. The popularity of the Middle English version, "Geffrey", gave rise to a variety of diminutive and pet forms, including: Geff, Jeff, Geph and Jeph, which subsequently generated a great number of surnames. In 1379, one John Jepson was noted in the 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire, and in 1594, Nicholas Jepson, of Mostyn, was entered in the Wills Records held at Chester. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield with two azure bars between nine mullets, three in chief, three in fess and three in base. In heraldry, the mullet denoted Honour and Achievement in service of the state in ancient times. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Gepsone, which was dated 1326, in "Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield", Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 11, known as "Edward of Caernafon", 1307 - 1327. 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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