This unusual English name is locational, meaning of 'Tappenden' or 'Toppenden'. The exact location of the place has disappeared, though sources indicate that it was in Kent near Sittingbourne. There are a number of 'lost ' villages in England, which now only exist through those surnames which have survived. Villages were cleared during the 14th century to make room for the all important sheep pasture, and natural disasters such as the Black Death of 1348 were responsible for the dying of many hamlets and villages. The place name derives from the Old English pre 7th century personal name 'Taeppa', Tapp and 'denu' meaning a dene or a valley, and the surname from there means one who lived at or in Tapp's valley. John Clare and Mary Tapenden were married in 1748 at St. Dioni's, Blackchurch, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Tapenden, married Ann Saffery. which was dated 2nd February 1703, St. George the Martyr, Canterbury. during the reign of Queen Anne 1702-1714. 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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