Apparently recorded as Taphouse and Tapehouse, this is an English locational surname. It would seem to be from one or any of three hamlets called Taphouse. The first of these lies in the county of Devon near the village of Tedburn St. Mary and the town of Crediton, whilst the twins Middle and West Taphouse, are some six miles from the town of Liskeard in the county of Cornwall. There are several explanations as to the the meaning of the name. The first is that it may describe 'the house at the tapp', the latter being an ancient barrow or burial ground, whilst the second may be 'the house where 'taeppes' or pegs were made'. A third explanation is the house or inn that sold ale 'on tap'. However this seems unlikely as most of what we now call inns were in the past ale houses, that is that they were licenced only to sell ale and porter on draught or 'tap'. Locational surnames by their nature tend to be 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to live somewhere else. This certainly seems to be the case here as the only early recording in either Devon or Cornwall is at Falmouth as late as 1809 when Charles Tapehouse was a christeneing witness on January 8th 1809. The name does not appear to be recorded in any form in the surviving records of the city of London, which would make it very rare indeed.
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