This name, with variant spellings Rooper, Raper and Rapier, derives from the old English pre 7th Century "rap", a rope, plus the agent suffix "er", (one who does), and was originally given as an occupational name to a maker of ropes. The surname is first recorded in the early 13th Century, (see below). Other early recordings include Richard le Ropere, "The Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire", (1220); and Peter le Roper with Walter le Ropere entered respectively in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Nottinghamshire and Cambridgeshire. One, Thomas le Roper was rector of Eccles, Norfolk in 1347, and in 1379 a Robertus Roper, "Roper" was entered in "The Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire". An interesting namebearer was Margaret Roper (1505 - 1544) daughter of Sir Thomas More who married William Roper in 1525. An ancient leaden box discovered in the Roper Vault at St. Dunstan's church, Canterbury, where her husband was buried was open in June 1824, and contained a head which was assumed to be More's. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Raper, witness, which was dated 1219, in the "Assize Court Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 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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