This interesting surname with variant spellings Saunper, Sanpere, Sanper, Semper, Sempere, etc., is a locational name from any of the various places in northern France called Saint-Pierre, from the dedication of their churches to St. Peter. The surname dates back to the mid 13th Century, (see below). Further recordings include Richard de Sempere (1256), "the Assize Court Rolls of Northumberland", Robert de Seyntpere (1300), "Writs of Parliament", and Ralph de Seynpere (1371), Derbyshire, "the Calendar of the Charter Rolls". One Urian Seintpier appears in the "Calendar of Inquisitiones post mortem of Yorkshire" in 1419. Church records include Charles, son of Thomas and Tabitha Sampere who was christened on December 10th 1758 at St. Gregory in the East, London. During the middle Ages, when it was increasingly common for people to migrate from their birth place to seek work further afield the custom developed that they would adopt their placename as a means of identification. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Saunper, which was dated 1256, "The Feet of Fines of Northumberland", during the reign of King Henry 111, "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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