This interesting name has two possible origins. The first being locational from a number of places called Knapp in Devon, Hampshire and Surrey, deriving from the Old English, pre 7th Century, "cnoepp" meaning a hilltop. The name was originally given to one dwelling on a hilltop, or hillock or to the Lord of the Manor as in "Henry de Cnappe" - the Placenames of Devon, 1301. Knapp may also have been a status name for a servant or squire, deriving from the German "Knappe" or the Old English "Cnapa" meaning a boy or servant. Notable namebearers include one William Knapp (1678 - 1768) a well known musical composer in his day who published "A sett of New Psalm Tunes and Anthems", in 1738 and served as parish clerk at Poole, Dorset for thirty-nine years, and John Leonard Knapp (1767 - 1845) a renown botanist who published "Gramina Britannica or Representations of British grasses" in 1804. In the modern idiom, the name appears as Knapp, Knappe, Knapper, Knappen and Knapman.A Coat of Arms was granted to a family from Tuddenham, County Norfolk, Needham and Washbroke, County Suffolk and has the blazon of a gold shield thereon in chief three closed helmets and in base a lion passant of the last. The Crest being an arm in armour holding a sword. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William atte Kneppe, which was dated 1294, in the Placenames of Surrey, during the reign of King Edward 1, known 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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