This interesting and unusual surname is a diminutive of Pepys, which is of early medieval English origin. The surname is derived from the Old French personal name "Pepis", an oblique case of "Pepin", and was introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. The personal name is of uncertain origin, but may have originally been a byname meaning terrible or awe-inspiring, from the root "bib-", to tremble. The personal name was borne by several Frankish Kings, most notable Pepin le Bref, father of Charlemagne, and the name remained popular throughout the Middle Ages.The name development since 1086 (see below) includes the following: Hawis Pepell (1301, Yorkshire) and John Pepil (1324, Yorkshire). The modern surname can be found as Pepys, Pep(p)in, Peaple, People, Pepall and Peppett. Among the recordings in London are the marriages of Jeremiah John Peaple and Clara Perry on March 25th 1863, and of Septimus People and Hannah Mattock on March 29th 1863, both at St. Pancras, Old Church. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Henry Pipin, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book, Leicestershire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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