This unusual and intriguing name is of Anglo-Norman French origin, and is a dialectal variant of the more familiar surname Champion or Campion, probably due to the influence of the French pronunciation of the first syllable. The name is derived from the Anglo-Norman French "campion, campiun", or the Old French "champion, champiun", used variously to denote a combatant in the campus or arena, one who is employed as a professional "champion", especially to represent one of the parties in a trial by combat. This was a common and accepted method of settling disputes in the Middle Ages; in criminal cases, the accuser and the accused would take the field themselves, but in civil disputes, such as land ownership, the parties were represented by "champions". Thomas Cantilupe, Bishop of Hereford (1275 - 1282), paid his Champion a salary of half a mark a year. Early examples of the name include: Herbert Campion (1148, Hampshire); Geoffrey Champiun (1154, Northamptonshire); and Hugo Champyon (1379, Yorkshire). Recordings from various Church Registers include: the marriage of Mich(ael) Schampion and Margaret Pinner at Great Hormead, Hertfordshire, on October 29th 1576, and the marriage of Samuell Scampion and Mary Peachy, on September 11th 1617, at Chipping Ongar, Essex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Scampyon, which was dated January 22nd 1545, marriage to Robert Toy, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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