This interesting surname is of either Olde English or Old Norse origin, and is the patronymic form of the personal name "Topp", meaning "son of Topp". The personal name may derive from the Olde English pre 7th Century byname "Topp", given originally as a distinguishing nickname for someone whose hair stood up in a tuft or crest, from the Olde English and Middle English "toppe", tuft or handful of hair, and also of wool or fibre. "Topp" may also be a survival of the Old Norse byname "Toppr", with a similar meaning. The personal name was still in use at the beginning of the 13th Century: one Herneius filius Toppe is recorded in the Lincolnshire Pipe Rolls of 1200. The surname Topping is also found frequently in Northern Ireland, first recorded in the Hearth Money Rolls of County Armagh in 1664. The marriage of Thomas Topping and Susanna Hodges was recorded on September 12th 1685 at the Church of St. James's, Duke's Place, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Toppyng which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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