Recorded in various spellings including Rasp, Rasper, Raspin, Rispin, Rispen, and the rare patronymics Raspinson and Raspison, this is an English and sometimes Scottish, surname. Early researchers thought that it was a topographical surname for someone who lived by an area covered by brushwood from the Olde English pre 7th century word "tris-pen", but this is incorrect. It is almost certainly Anglo-Saxon from the word 'raspen' meaning to grasp, and as such it was given as a nickname to somebody who was considered to be a bit sharp or even miserly.However medieval nicknames were notorious for meaning the reverse of what they say, and that may well be the case here. The modern surname is found mainly in Yorkshire, a county where people have traditionally been regarded as 'careful' with their money and possessions, so perhaps early nameholders were too free with their money for local tastes. The name is also well recorded in the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London, and the county of Lincolnshire. Examples of the surname recording taken from surviving church registers include Thomas Rispin who married Jane Bradlay at Huggate, near Pocklington, in East Yorkshire, on June 7th, 1618, and Archbell Raspin, a witness at St Botolphs Bishopgate, in the city of London, on March 13th 1727. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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