Recorded in the spellings of Sheppie, Sheppey, Sheppy, Sheepy, Shippie, Shippey and Shippy, this is an English locational surname. It originates from the Isle of Sheppey, in Kent, a place first recorded in the year 606 a.d., at the very begining of written history. The earliest spelling was as "Sceipeig" which translates as the "island where sheep were kept". In the famous Domesday Book of 1086, and four hundred years after the first recording, the spelling becomes "Scape", a form which must be put down to the inability of the Norman clerics after the 1066 Invasion, to understand the dialect of the region. In that, it has to be said, they are not alone! Locational surnames are usually "from" names. This is to say that they were usually given to people after they left their original home and moved elsewhere. "Elsewhere" could be the next village or London, in either case local dialects being thick, and spelling at best erratic, lead to the development of alternative spellings. In this case early examples of the surname recording are found in the church registers of London. These examples include Dorathie Shippie, who married Walter Somes, at St Mary Magdalene, Bermondsey, on February 19th 1603, Elizabeth Shippey, who married John Firebras at St Mary Mounthaw, city of London, on December 8th 1619, and Jonathon Sheepy, at St Botolphs without Aldgate, on December 16th 1724. The first known recording may be that of Thomas Sheppey, at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on March 30th 1560.
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