This very unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be from a metonymic occupational name for a maker of stirrup irons or stirrup leathers (or both), derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "stigrap", stirrup, a compound of "stigan", to rise, and "rap", rope. However, there is no evidence that stirrup-making had any special status as an occupation in the Middle Ages. The second source is locational, from Styrrup, a place so called in Northamptonshire, of uncertain origin, but it may be derived from the Olde English "stigrap", as before, because of a stirrup-shaped ridge near which it stands. The placename was first recorded as "Estirape" in the Domesday Book of 1086, as "Stirap" in the Pipe Rolls of the county in 1200, and as "Stirop" in the Book of Fees of the county in 1242. James Stirrup was recorded as holding Tenure and Occupation of Long Bird Island (one of the Sommer Islands), with Ralph Wright, in August 1673; he was one of the earliest bearers of the name to settle in the New World. The christening was recorded in Northamptonshire of Elizabeth, daughter of James Stirrup, on July 14th 1655, at King's Cliffe. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Rannulf de Stirap, which was dated 1200, in the "Pipe Rolls of Northumberland", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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