This interesting and unusual surname of Northern English origin derives from the old English pre 7th Century "Leap" a basket, and was originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a maker of baskets. One, John le Lepmaker of Norfolk is recorded in the "Middle English Surnames of Occupation" by G. Fransson in 1338. The metonymic form of the surname first emerges in the mid 16th Century (see below). Other early recordings of the surname from the Yorkshire church registers include; Richard and John, twin sons of John Leap, who were christened on February 9th 1606, at Howden; on January 26th 1625, Thomas Leap married Elizabeth Blansheard, at Carlton Juxta Snaith; Marie Leap, who married Bartholomew Watson, on October 25th 1629, at Aughton near Selby; on September 30th 1645, Thomas Leap married Eliza Kempe at Bubwith; and Ann Leap married Richard Dawson, on November 30th 1647 in the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jenet Leap, (marriage to William Rawlyn), which was dated November 17th 1569, in Royston, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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