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 Old 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 dialectal variants of "Morphet" and "Morpheth" to "Moorpeth", "Moorepath" 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. George Henry Frederick Howard, seventh Earl of Carlisle, (1802 - 1864), was M.P. for Morpeth as Viscount Morpeth, 1826 - 1830. The Morpeth Coat of Arms depicts three red bars on a silver shield and over all a castle with three silver towers. A blue bordure, surrounding the shield and occupying one fifth of it, is charged with eight golden doves. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Morpath, which was dated 1273, The Yorkshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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