This interesting and unusual surname has two origins; firstly, it may be a metonymic occupational name for a piper, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "pipe" meaning pipe. The Olde English "pipe" was also used for a water-pipe, conduit or aqueduct, and of the channel of a small stream; the name may thus be a topographical name from residence near such a pipe, or a locational name from Pipe in Herefordshire (where there is a brook), and Pipe near Lichfield, in Staffordshire (where there are springs from which water has for centuries been piped to Lichfield). Secondly, it may be from the female personal name "Pypa", or the male personal name "Pipe", recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086, which is perhaps from the root of the French given name "Pepin", Old German "Pipin", thought to mean "awe-inspiring". The surname dates back to the mid 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include Swan Pipe (1221), Shropshire, and John del Pipe (1267) in the Calendar of Close Rolls. London Church Records list the marriage of Richard Pype to Elizabeth Lucye on May 24th 1546 at St. Lawrence Jewry, Milk Street, and the christening of Elizabeth, daughter of Jermaine Pipe, on February 21st 1584 at St. Ann's, Blackfriars. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Henry de Pipa, which was dated 1152, in the "Staffordshire Chartulary", during the reign of King Stephen, known as "Count of Blois", 1135 - 1154. 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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