Recorded as Riping, Rippin, Ripon, Rippon, Rippen and possibly others, this is an English medieval surname. It is locational from the city of Ripon in North Yorkshire, given as being England's smallest city. This place was first recorded in the year 715 a.d. by the famous historian 'The Reverend Bede'. It derives from the word 'Hrype' which was a tribal name of unknown etymology, and is also found in the similar name of Repton, a village in Derbyshire.Locational surnames were amongst the first to be created, as the easiest means of identification was to call a person by the name of a place that they owned, or where they came from.In this case the first recording is probably that of William de Ripon, who was the bishop of Ripon in 1273. Other examples include Johanna de Ripon in the Poll Tax records for Yorkshire in 1379. Locational surnames were often widely dispersed which in turn lead to the creation of 'sounds like' spellings. So it is not surprising that in the surviving early church registers of the city of London we find examples such as that on September 16th 1549, of William Ryppyn and Alice Smythe who were married at St Mary's Uxbridge, James Rippon or Rippen who married Joane Smillie at St Mary Aldermary, on December 1st 1602, and on December 20th 1617, Elice, the son of Francis Ripping, who was christened at St. Luke's, Chelsea. 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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