This rare and interesting name is of medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of the locational name Shipston, or Shepton from places so called in Warwickshire, and Somerset. The derivation of Shipston is from the Old English pre 7th Century "Sceap", sheep with "tun", an enclosure, or homestead, and could thus mean a town by the Sheepwash. This is borne out by the early spellings of Shipston, for example in Birch's Saxon Charters of 764 it appears as "Scepwarisctune", and in the Domesday Book of 1086, as "Scepwestun", Shepton in Somerset appears in the Domesday Book as "Sceptone" and translates as sheep farm.During the Middle Ages people would often adopt their village name as a means of identification when moving on to seek work elsewhere, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. One Agnes Shepstone married John Smith on September 3rd 1601 at St. Gabriel Fenchurch, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Stephen Shypton, which was dated October 28th 1561, at St. Stephen's Church, Coleman Street, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 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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