This unusual name is one of the German forms of the medieval English surname 'Pepper', which can also be found as 'Peever' and 'Peffer'. It is a metonymic occupational surname for a dealer in pepper, a spicer or pepperer, derived from the Middle English 'peper, piper', pepper, from the Old English pre 7th Century 'piper, pipor', from the Latin 'piper'. This derivation applies particularly to the English form of the name. 'Pepper', but in many cases the surname of one individual was recorded in a number of forms, as in John Pepper alias Peyvre, recorded in 1298 in London, who alternated between the English and the French (from the Old French 'peyvre', pepper) form of the name. The surname may also be derived from a nickname for a small man, or one with a fiery temper, or perhaps an 'anecdotal' name for someone who paid a peppercorn rent. One Catharine Pfeffer was christened at Christ Church Spitalfields, London, on the August 14th 1774. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Peivre, which was dated 1198, The Essex Fines Court Rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, '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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