Recorded as Lapthorn, Laphorn and more usually Lapthorne, this is an English locational surname. It is originates from a place which was presumably called Lapthorne, since the early recordings were in this spelling. The problem is that no such place is known to exist, or is known to have existed in the past three centuries. This suggests that this surname is one of the many which originate from now 'lost' medieval villages and hamlets, and of which the only public memory in the later 20th century, is often the surname itself. There are several surviving villages whose name commences 'Lap-' and the meaning is believed to be from the Olde English pre 7th century word 'laeppa' meaning 'an end', to give a possible meaning of 'the end of the thorn'. This was perhaps a reference to a thorn wood or even a defensive 'wall' of thorn trees and bushes, created both to keep cattle in at night, and brigands and marauders out! Another possibility is from an early personal name 'Hlappa,' to give 'Hlappa's hedge' or similar. Locational names are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads to settle somewhere else. In this case the name is well recorded in the surviving registers of the city of London from the time of King Charles 1st (1625 - 1649), with Mabell Lapthorne marrying John Smith at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on May 23rd 1630, and Mary Lapthorn, who married Richard Staun also at St Dunstans, on March 11th 1706.
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