This is a locational English surname. It derives from one of several English villages or even solitary farms, which have nothing whatsoever to do with ships. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century 'sceap' meaning 'sheep' and 'tun'- a farm or settlement. The settlement name is first recorded as early as 714 a.d in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, a clear indication of the importance of sheep farming in the early economy. The famous Victorian etymologist Canon C W Bardsley gives the year 1273 as the first known date of the surname recording, and this is probably so. It is almost certainly about the date when surnames became hereditary, although locational surnames, those named after specific places, were the first to be recognised as family or 'sire' names. In this case early recordings include Simon de Shupton, whose occupation was given as 'firmarius', an early lawyer, one who 'confirmed' land charters and the like, in the Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1379, whilst Edward Shipton of London was a student at Oxford University in the year 1500. The coat of arms has the unusual blazon of a silver field charged with three pairs of bellows, two and one. This was granted in Leicestershire, and suggests that the nameholders were originally ironfounders or similar. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Baldwin de Schipton, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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