Recorded as Slip, Slipe, Slipper, Sleeper, and possibly others, this is a famous surname. It is English, and is almost certainly occupational for a sword and knife maker or sharpener. The derivation is from the pre 7th century word 'slipe' meaning to polish or sharpen, and although this spelling is now extinct there was the recording in the year 1314 of William Suerdsliper, in the register of the Manor of Wakefield in Yorkshire. Occupational surnames were amongst the first to be created, however they did not usually become hereditary unless a son followed his father into the same line of business. Perhaps the trade or profession of sword making was too exotic to survive, or it became more usually Swordsmith. Early examples of this surname include William Slipere in the register of the Abbey of Bec in Middelsex in 1248, and Lawrence Slypere in the Subsidy Tax rolls of the county of Sussex in 1332. In the 20th century the name became associated with the largely successful attempts by Inspector Slipper of Scotland Yard, to catch the infamous 'Great Train Robbers' of 1962.
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