This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a locational surname from the place called "Morpeth" in Northumberland. The placename is recorded in the Assize Rolls of Northumberland of 1256 as "Morthpath" and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century compound "Morthpaeth", with the literal meaning of "murder-path", presumably a place notorious for murderous attacks by bandits and robbers or well-known for a particularly infamous murder. There have been many variations of the surname, ranging from the dialectual variants of "Morphet" and "Morpheth" to "Moorpeth", "Moorepath", Morfett, Murfett and "Morpitt". Henry Morpet was christened in London in 1630 and in Whitburn, Co. Durham, Elizabeth Morphet married John Allen on the 23rd May 1799. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Morpath, which was dated 1273, in the Yorkshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward l, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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