This uncommon and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost " place called Scaplehorne or Shepelhorne believed to have been situated in southern England, probably in Hertfordshire, Hampshire or Wiltshire because of the high incidence of early recordings in Church Registers of those counties. The component elements of the placename are most likely the Olde English pre 7th Century "scip, sce(a)p", sheep, and "hyll", hill, which is frequently represented as "(h)ell" in south eastern England, with "horn", hill, projecting spur of a hill, which serves to reinforce the second element "hyll". The prime cause of medieval village "disappearance" was the enforced clearing of rural settlements and the consequent dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade from the 14th Century on, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. Recordings of the surname from Vernham's Dean, Hampshire, include: Scapplehorn, 1620, and Saplehorne, 1635, and entries in Wiltshire Church Registers include: Scapelhorne (Burbage, 1680), and Shepelhourne (Preshute, 1787). On March 26th 1797, William, son of Thomas Scapelhorn, was christened at Aldenham, Hertfordshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Scablehorne, which was dated May 2nd 1614, marriage to Elizabeth Benfield, at Vernham's Dean, Hampshire, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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