This is one of the most interesting of all English surnames. It is of early northern medieval origins and is found recorded as Tiplady, Toplady, Toplass and Topley, although the origination in all cases is the same. It derives from the Olde English "typp", a word which has several meanings including "a tuft of hair", or as a verb "to overcome", plus "hlaefdige", a lady, or literally "the food chief". We believe that logically the name refers to a lady who adopted a certain hairstyle, but the conventional explanation is that the name refers to a "ladies' man". However, this latter explanation seems extremely unlikely, given that the first recording (see below) is that of a woman. One of the famous name holders was the noted author, publisher and christian divine Augustus Toplady (1740 - 1788), who was an associate of John Wesley, and publisher of the "Rock of Ages". The name is specifically Yorkshire in origin, all early recordings being found there. These include Henry Tipelady in the York Guild Rolls of 1494, and Ann Tiplady of Leake, North Yorkshire, christened on December 21st 1574. The name is first recorded in London in 1591, when John Tiplady married Rose Keyne at St. Giles Cripplegate, but it is not recorded in the Lacashire area until 1796. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johanna Tippeleveday, which was dated 1301, in the "Subsidy Charter Rolls of County York, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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