This interesting surname, with variant forms Peppar, Peever and Peffer, derives from the Middle English "peper", itself coming from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pipor", ultimately from the Latin "piper" meaning pepper, and was originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a pepperer or spicer. The forms Peever and Peffer come from the Anglo-French "pivre" (Old French "peyvre", pepper) with "peyvrier" and "pevrier" meaning "pepperer". One Roger Peivre and an Alice Peper were entered in the Fine Court Rolls of Essex in 1198 and 1241 respectively, and John Pepper alias Peyvre, recorded in the Calendar of Early Mayor's Court Rolls, Cambridgeshire, alternated between the English and the French form of the name. In August 1635, Francis Pepper, aged 16 yrs., who embarked from London on the ship "Globe" bound for Virginia, was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in the New World. A Coat of Arms granted to the Pepper family of Thurmaston, Leicestershire, depicts three gold demi lions rampant and three black sickles placed alternately on the silver chevron of a red shield. The Motto "Semper Erectus" translates as "Always Exalted". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Peper, which was dated 1197, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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