This uncommon name, found chiefly in Devonshire and other south-western counties, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is the patronymic form of the ancient surname Tapp(e). The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Taeppe", which is of somewhat uncertain origin, but is thought to have been developed from a nickname or byname for a particularly tall, thin person, from the Olde English "taeppe", peg. This personal name is found as the first element in a number of placenames, such as Taplow in Buckinghamshire, "Taeppa's Mound or barrow"; Tapners in Kent, "Taeppa's wood"; and Tappington in Kent, and Tapton in Derbyshire, both of which are "Taeppa's homestead or settlement". The surname from this personal name is first recorded in the late 12th Century, when one John Tappe is listed in the Dorsetshire Pipe Rolls of 1194. Among the recordings of the patronymic form of the name, found as Tapson, Tappson and Tapps, are the following examples from Devonshire Church Registers: the marriage of John Tapson and Margery Reep on November 10th 1555, at Buckland Monachorum, and the christening of John, son of Richard Tapson, at St. Andrew's, Plymouth, on June 10th 1593. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanna Tapson, which was dated February 3rd 1543, marriage to Robert Hawthorne, at Buckland Monachorum, Devonshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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