Recorded as Sharple, Sharpley and sometimes Sharply, this is an English surname. It is locational, and presumably from some place whose name is represented by the surname spelling. However no such place has been found, or anything quite like it. On this basis it is probably a surname from a now "lost" medieval village, whose name may have originally been "Scearpa leah" or similar. This probably described a farm (leah) on a hillside or steep slope, from the pre 7th century Olde English or Danish-Viking. It is estimated that over three thousand villages and small towns have disappeared from the countyside of the British Isles over the past five centuries, and this seems to be another for the growing list. As to why so many disappeared has been the subject of several books. The popular culprits were changes in agricultural practices, the enclosure of the common lands, and the Great Plagues, although the drainage of the fens and wetlands, coastal erosion and war have also played their parts. The surviving church registers of the city of London include early examples such as Joanna Sharple who married Rogerus Lyllye at St Andrews Enfield, Middlesex, on October 8th 1564, and Thomas Sharpley whose daughter Anne, was christened at Allhallows church, London Wall, on August 28th 1639.
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