Recorded as Pere, Lapere, Le Pere, Lepare, Lapper, the diminutive Peret, the patronymic Peres, and others, this is a surname of Anglo-French origins. According to the 'Dictionnaire Etymologique des noms de famille de France' it does mean 'father,' but whether this is a reference to a father figure in a religious sense as for instance 'The Pope', and hence a medieval nickname for an actor who played the part of the pope or a bishop in the theatres of those days, or whether it was a term of endearment, is unclear. In England the name is thought either to originate from the above or from the word 'pere' meaning a pear tree, and hence probably a person who lived at or owned a pear orchard, or the same spelling of 'pere,' to mean a companion. From this we have the later 'peer' meaning a noble. A further confusion is that it can also be a derivative of 'Pierre', the French form of Peter, the famous Hebrew name meaning 'rock, which was largely introduced into Europe by returning Crusaders from the Holy Land in about the 12th century. Early examples of the surname recording in early surviving records include Robert le Per in the register of the Knight Templars for the county of Warwickshire in 1185, and much later Phillipe le Pere, given as being a Huguenot Protestant refugee, at the Frencg church, Threadneedle Street, in the city of London, in 1682. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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