Recorded as Reef, Reff, Rope, Roope, Roper, Rooper, Raper, Rapier (English), Riep, Repp, Reef (German), Reep, Reeper, Reepmaeker (Flemish and Dutch), and probably others, this is a surname of ancient origins. It is derived from the pre 7th century word "rap", meaning a rope, with where appropriate, the agent suffix "-er", meaning literally "one who does", and occupational for a rope maker. The surname is first recorded in England in the early medieval period and examples include Richard le Ropere in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire in the year 1220, and Robertus Roper in the poll tax registers of Yorkshire in 1379. Bernard Riep is recorded in Saulgau, Germany, in 1420 and James Refe or Reef at St Andrews Holborn in the city of London, in 1588. In 1525 William Roper married Margaret More in London. She was the daughter of Sir Thomas More, executed by Henry V111th in 1535. An ancient lead box was discovered in the Roper Vault at St. Dunstan's church, Canterbury, where her husband was buried. This was opened in June 1824, and contained a head, assumed to be that of Sir Thomas More. The first recorded spelling of the family name in any form is that of Roger Raper, and dated 1219, in the Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. 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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