This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called 'Toppesfield' in Essex. A number of variant forms of the modern surname derive from the same source; 'Tapsfield', 'Tappsfield', 'Topsfield' and 'Toppesfield'. The placename is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Topesfelda', and as 'Toppesfeld' in 1197, and means 'Topp's open country', derived from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Topp', originally a byname for someone with a noticeable crest of hair, with 'feld', meaning 'open country', 'land cleared of trees', 'plain'. The name development includes 'Tapesfield' (1581, London), and 'Topsfelde' (1587, Kent). Henry Tapsfield married Suzan Muschampe at St. Mary Woolnoth, London, on the 21st January 1577. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of George Topsfield (christening), which was dated 16th February 1560, Wrotham, Kent, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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