Recorded in many spellings including Samper, Sampierre, Samphier, Saunper, Sanpere, Sanper, Semper, and Sempere, this is a locational name. It is French, although all the earliest recordings are found in England. It originates from any of the various places in Northern France called Saint-Pierre, from the dedication of their churches to St. Peter. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given originally either to the local lord of the manor, or more usually to people who for whatever reason, left their original villages and moved somewhere else. In so doing they took, or were given, as their sumname the name of their former home. In this case the name in England probably dates back to followers of Wiilliam, Duke of Normandy, in his famous invasion of England in 1066. Over the centuries spelling being at best erratic and local dialects everywhere, quite thick, lead to the adoption of 'sounds like' spellings. Early examples of recordings include Richard de Sempere in the Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland in 1296, Robert de Seyntpere in the Parliamentary Writs of 1300, and Ralph de Seynpere in Derbyshire in 1371. Urian Seintpier appears in the "Calendar of Inquisitiones post mortem of Yorkshire" in 1419. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Saunper. This was dated 1256, in t rlls known as the Feet of Fines of Northumberland", during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 1216 - 1272. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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