Recorded in many forms including Chape, Chappe, Cape (Norman and Picardian), Chapier, Caper, Capers (French), Cappa, Cappini and Capello (Italian), Capote and Capellero (Spanish), Kepp, Kepps, Keppel, Keppell, and Keppler (Dutch-German and Askenasic), this is a surname of Roman (Latin) origins. It derives from the word 'cappa' meaning a cape, and as such is usually occupational for a maker of capes or hooded cloaks, particularly for use by the higher status members of the church and religious orders. However it may also have been a nickname for a habitual wearer of distinctive cloaks. The word as 'chape' was introduced into the British Isles after the Norman Invasion of 1066, where today it is generally found as Cape, whilst the famous Keppel family entered England with Prince William of Orange in 1688, although Kepp(e) seems to be much earlier being recorded at St Gabrile Fenchurch Street, city of London on December 14th 1580 with that of Wyllyam Keppe. The name as Chapeler is purely occupational and describes one who made hats for the nobility with heraldic designs. The first recorded spelling of the family name anywhere is believed to be that of Reginald Chape, which was dated 1297, in the rolls of the Duchy of Cornwall. This was during the reign of King Edward 1st of England ans known to history as 'The Hammer of the Scots', 1272-1307. 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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