In 1781 (see below) one Jos(eph) Menpes was recorded in Folkestone, Kent. He would seem to be "the father" of all subsequent surname holders. From where did he originate? The name is not English and has no definable meaning in English, nor in this spelling form is it recorded anywhere in Europe, and again has no apparent meaning in any European language. This suggests a refugee, and probably Huguenot status, the name being an Anglicization based upon a phonetic form, i.e. sounds like. The 18th Century saw many examples of Anglicization such as Rideau to Rideout, Descamps to Scamp, and De la Planche to Plank. It is our view that Menpes is a development of "Montpeur" or the shortened version "Monpeur", or it may simply be a dialectal of such as Montpellier, given the 18th Century Kent-Sussex pronunciation. The early name recordings are all Kent, the name not being recorded in London until 1875. These include: Catherine Witherden Menpes, daughter of Joseph and Mary, who was christened at St. James the Apostle, Dover, on April 22nd 1794, and Joseph Menpes, who married Sarah Marsh at St. Mary's, Dover, on August 20th 1820. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jos. Menpes (as recorded), which was dated August 25th 1781, marriage to My Luddington, at Folkestone, Kent, during the reign of King George 111, known as "Farmer George", 1760 - 1820. 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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