Recorded as Tapley, Taply and occasionally the dialectal Topley, this surname is English. It is locational from a place in the county of Devonshire called Tapeley. Recorded as Taeppa Leag in the Anglo- Saxon Chronicle, dated 901 and as Tapeleia in the Domesday Book of 1086, the first element is believed to be either the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name Taeppa meaning 'peg' and originally given as a metonymic occupational name to a maker of pegs, plus 'leah', a wood, hence 'Taeppa's Wood', or 'taeppa' literally meaning 'peg' plus 'leah', hence, 'wood where pegs were collected'. In medieval times widespread use was made of pegs in the construction of buildings. The surname form this source is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below), and other later examples include that of Thomas Topley, whose son James was christened at St Giles Cripplegate, in the city of London on November 5th 1566, and that on January 25th 1585, of Richard Tapley and Alse Nichole, who were married at Coffinswell, in Devon . The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Adam de Tapplegh, which was dated 1272 in the Hundred Rolls of Devonshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of Engalnd and known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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