This very unusual and interesting name is of ancient British (pre-Roman) origin, and can be either a topographical or a locational surname. The topographical source is the earlier one, since as a surname "Limpenny" and its variant forms are phonetic adaptations of the ancient river name "Lympne". This is the old name for the East Rother river, in Sussex and Kent, which formerly ran into the Channel at Rye, and whose old course is marked by the Royal Military Canal. The river is recorded in 697 as "Liminaea", and is derived from the Celtic word for "elm", found in Gaelic as "lem", and which in Old English (pre 7th Century) became "Limene". The river name was thus "the river where elms grew". The town of "Lympne" in Kent, pronounced "Lim", as in the river, is named from the same source, and may have generated a number of locational surnames. The development of the surname in London includes Lempeney (1571), Lympany (1589) and Limpenie (1659). One Richard Limpenny married Sarah Hewes at St. James's, Duke's Place, London, on November 20th 1666. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robartt Limpenye (marriage to Elysabeth Skott), which was dated January 15th 1570, St. Olave's, Old Jewry, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "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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