This unusual surname is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational name for a basket-maker, deriving from the Middle English "skipp(e), skepp(e)", basket, hamper, ultimately from the Old Norse "skeppa", with the addition of the agent suffix "er" (one who does or works with). Job descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary. The surname first appears on record in the early part of the 13th Century (see below). One Walter le Skeppere was noted in "Middle English Surnames of Occupation" for Lincolnshire, dated 1281. Metonymic examples of the name include: William Skyp (Sussex, 1296) and John Skep (Cambridgeshire, 1327). On August 22nd 1565, Christopher, an infant, was christened at St. Oswald's, Durham, and on November 2nd 1606, the marriage of Ann Skepper to Bryan Fox took place in Newark upon Trent, Nottinghamshire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Skepper family of Durham in 1612 is an ermine shield with three gold roses on a red chevron, the Crest being a lion's paw erect gold, grasping three gold roses, stalked and leaved green. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Simon Sceppere, which was dated 1221, in "Medieval Records of Ely", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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