This very rare surname is of pre 7th century Olde English and specifically it would seem, the county of Lancashire, origins. It is locational, deriving either from a 'lost' medieval hamlet or even a single dwelling called 'Scearp-hus' or similar (the house on the steep edge), or possibly the name is a variant form of the popular surname 'Scarples', originally from the village of Scarples Hall. 'Scarples' has much the same meaning of the 'steep place'. There are known to be at least five thousand surnames which originate from 'lost' sites, and of whom in the 20th century, the only reminder is the surname. In this case the name has at various times been recorded as Sharpus, Sharpous, and Sharphouse, whilst Sharphurst may also be a late spelling. Examples of the early recordings taken from the relevant church registers include Elizabeth Sharphouse, the daughter of John Sharphouse, christened at Wigan on July 25th 1582, and Johm Sharpous christened at St Mary's church, Bury, on April 27th 1617. If the name is a derivative of Sharples, the first recording in that name is that of John de Scharples, a witness at the Lancashire Assize Court, Lancaster, in the year 1246. A 19th century recording of a possible variant of Sharphouse or Sharpus, created as a result of dialect or plain bad spelling, is that of James Sharphurst, a witness at Stand Lane Independent church, Pilkington, on February 9th 1806. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jane Sharpus, which was dated November 23rd 1573, married at St Peters, Bolton Le Moors, Lancashire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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