This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a variant form of the more familiar surname "Pope", which developed into a surname from the habitual use of a nickname given with reference to the ecclesiastical title for the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The name derives from the Old English pre 7th Century "papa", Middle English "pope" from the Latin "papa", bishop, pope, itself from the Greek "pappas", father. The Latin term was originally used as a title of respect for male clergy of every rank, but in the Western Church it gradually became restricted to bishops, and finally only to the bishop of Rome. The nickname was given in the first instance to someone of an austere, ascetic appearance, or of a vain and pompous nature, or to one who had played the part of the pope in a medieval play or pageant. The variant form "Papes" is the patronymic, "son of (the) Pape". Katherin Papes was christened at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, in London, on June 1st 1655. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stubhard Pape, which was dated 1095, Calendar of the Abbey of Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk, during the reign of King William 11, "William Rufus", 1087 - 1100. 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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