This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an English occupational name for "a player of the pipe or bagpipes, a piper", from the Olde English pre 7th Century and Middle English word "pipere", a piper, from "pipe", which is cognate with the Germanic "pfeife", whistle, pipe. The following quotation is from Chaucer's "Canterbury Tales": "A baggepipe cowde he blawe and sowne". The surname, which was first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), may be found as "le Pipere" (Assize Court Rolls of Lincolnshire, 1202); "le Piper" (the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire, 1273); "le Pyper" (Issue Rolls) and "le Pipre" (Close Rolls, 1276). John and Robert le Pipere of Somerset are both mentioned in "Kirby's Quest for Somerset" in 1328, while Ema Piper is recorded in the Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire in 1379. Francis Le Piper or Lepipre (deceased 1698) was a notable artist who drew landscapes and humorous compositions and caricatures. A Coat of Arms depicting a silver chevron embattled between two gold falcons belled in chief, and a dexter gauntlet in base, holding a sword erect, was granted to John Piper Esq. of Ashen, Essex, on July 23rd 1723. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jordan Piper, which was dated 1185, in the "Records of the Templars in England in the 12th Century", Somerset, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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