Recorded as Tap, Tape, Tapp, Tappe, Tappes, Tapps, Tapper, and others, this is an English surname. It was originally either occupational and described a marker of taps for barrels or more likely was a nickname for a tall, thin person. In either case the derivation is the pre 7th century word "taeppa", meaning a peg, and later a tap. The personal name appears as the first element in the placenames Taplow in Buckinghamshire, Tapners and Tappington in Kent, and Tapton in Derbyshire, which mean respectively, "Taeppa's barrow" from the Olde English "hlaw", meaning a hill or mound; "Taeppa's wood" from "haes", a wood; and "Taeppa's village or settlement". Roger Tappe was noted in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire in 1327, whilst John Tap or Tapp was the author of "The Arte of Navigation" in 1596. Later recordings taken from surviving church registers include Henry Tap at St Botolphs Bishopgate on February 3rd 1620 and Thomas Tape who married Joane Powell at St James, Dukes Place, Westminster, on August 29th 1689. A coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of a gold shield charged with a silver lion passant on a fess between three blue crosses crosslet fitchee. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Tappe. This was dated 1194, in the Pipe Rolls of Dorset, during the reign of King Richard 1st of England and known as "Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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