Recorded in the spellings of Stockport, which is quite rare, and the more popular dialectals Stoppard, Stopforth and Stopford, this is an English surname. It is locational and originates from the town of Stockport in the county of Cheshire. The town is on the River Mersey and before the Norman Conquest of 1066 it is believed that it was known as Stocford from the Olde English pre 7th century "stoc" meaning a place and "forda", a shallow river crossing. As to why the popular surname spelling is Stoppard, Stopford or Stopforth is unclear, but some of the earliest recordings are in Yorkshire in the Poll Tax rolls of 1379. This suggests that the changed dialect through the crossing of the Pennine moors and hills which separate the counties, may have had something to do with it. Locational surnames may originally have applied to the local lord of the manor, as may in some cases apply here, however in general they are "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homesteads, and who moved elsewhere. Local dialects being very thick and spelling generally erratic, soon lead to the development of alternative spellings. In this case Roger de Stokeford is recorded in Cheshire in 1295, Thomas Stoppforth was a citizen of York in 1375, Oliver Stokport was actually the mayor of Stockport in the year 1549, William Stopford died at Melling in Lancashire, in 1616, and Margaret Stoppard married John Delves at Prestbury, in Cheshire, in 1625.
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