This interesting and most unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place, believed to have been situated in Devonshire, because of the large number of early recordings in that region. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "Taeppa", an Olde English personal name, of obscure origin, but thought to be a nickname for a tall, thin person, from the Olde English word "taeppa", originally meaning a peg, later a tap; and the Olde English "-cot, cote", a cottage, or shelter for animals, especially sheep. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have disappeared since the 12th Century, due to such natural causes as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, and to the widespread practice of enforced clearing and enclosure of rural lands for sheep pastures, from the 15th Century onwards. Early examples include the marriage of Agnes Tapscotte and Peter Chilcotte on November 27th 1591 at Bishops Nympton, Devonshire; the marriage of John Tapscott and Agnes Tossell on July 7th 1606, at Rose Ash, Devonshire; the marriage of Willielmus Tapscott to Aliciam Harper on September 26th 1667 at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster, London; and the marriage of Edward Tapscut and Parnell Hanson at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, on December 12th 1697. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Dorothy Tapscott, which was dated April 27th 1556, marriage to Thomas Muxwerthie, at North Motton, in Devonshire, during the reign of Queen Mary, known as "Bloody Mary", 1553 - 1558. 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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