Recorded in several spellings including Tapp, Tappe, Teape, and Tepe, this is an ancient English surname. Deriving from a pre 7th Century personal name, it seems as a surname to have been first recorded in the West Country as shown below. It is thought to have been a nickname for a tall, thin person, from the word "tappa", meaning a peg, and later a tap. The personal name appears as the first element in the placenames such as Taplow in Buckinghamshire, Tapners and Tappington in Kent, and Tapton in Derbyshire. These translate respectively as "Tappa's barrow" from the word 'hlaw' meaning a burial mound, "Tappa's wood" from the Olde English 'haes', meaning wood; and "Tappa's settlement," the latter element being the word 'tun'. Early examples of the surname recording include Roger Tappe in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Worcester in 1327, John Tapp, an Elizabethan sailor and the author in 1568 of "The Arte of Navigation", whilst in 1579 Richard Teape was buried at St Dionis Backchurch, in the city of London. A coat of arms granted to the Tapp family of Dorset has the blazon of a gold shield charged with a silver lion passant on a fess between three blue crosses crosslet fitchee. The first recording of the family name may be that of Johannes Tepe in the Hundred Rolls of landowners of Devonshire in 1273. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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