This unusual and long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from an Olde English pre 7th Century personal name, "Taeppa". The meaning of the name is obscure, but is thought to be from a nickname for a tall, thin person, from the Olde English word "taeppa", meaning, originally, 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 "(h)law", mound); "Taeppa's wood" (from the Olde English "haes", wood); and "Taeppa's village or settlement" (the latter element being the Olde English "tun, tone").One Roger Tappe was noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire, and an interesting namebearer, listed in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was John Tapp (flourished 1596), the author of "The Arte of Navigation". A Coat of Arms granted to the Tapp family of Dorset is a gold shield with a silver lion passant on a fess between three blue crosses crosslet fitchee, the Crest being a black greyhound couchant lined and collared gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Tappe, which was dated 1194, in the "Pipe Rolls of Dorset", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard the Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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