Recorded in several forms including Leaper, Leeper and Lepper (English), as well as French forms such as Lepierr, Lepiere, and Leppier, this unusual and long-established surname has a number of possible interpretations. Firstly, it may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and an occupational name for a basket- maker, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "leap", meaning basket, with the addition of the agent suffix "-er", meaning "one who does". The second possibility is that the surname derives from the Olde English word "hleapere", meaning in a transferred sense a professional acrobat, dancer, or courier.Thirdly the origin may be Germanic, and occupational for a maker of hosiery from the word "lappe", meaning cloth. Lastly the name may be French and locational from a place called Le Pierr, meaning The Stone. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving charters and registers of the medieval period include: Henry Leper of Nottinghamshire in the year 1200; and Geoffrey Lepere of Essex in 1221. Later examples from surviving church recordings include on June 25th 1677, William, the son of William and Elizabeth Lepper, who was christened at St. Giles' Cripplegate, London, and in France where many registers did not survive the Revolution of 1792, Nicholas Lepiere and his wife the fomer Anne Paulin, at Gibeaume, Meurthe-et-Moselle, on November 13th 1796. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Lepere. This was dated 1185, in the rolls of the Knights' Templar for Warwickshire, during the reign of King Henry 11nd, 1154 - 1189. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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