Recorded as Top, Topp, Toupe, Toappe, Toppe, Toop, Toope, and diminutives Tuppen, Tuppin, Tupine, Tuphee and Tupie, this is an English medieval surname. It may have either of two origins. The first is arguably from the Norse-Viking personal name Topi or Tupi, short forms of the male given name Porbjorn, meaning "Thunder - bear." This is from the pre 7th century Porr or Thor, the god of thunder, and bjorn, a bear or warrior. Given such a meaning it is not perhaps surprising that the name had great popularity at a time in history called The Dark Ages, when all was doom, gloom and political chaos. The second possible origin is from the pre 7th century English word "top" wich was used to describe the top of a hill. The first recording as the personal name Tupi appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 for the county Hertfordshire, whilst Roger Top is recorded in Norfolk in the year 1208. Other recordings include William Toupe who was christened at Saint Olave Southwark, January 18th 1647, and Richardus Tuphee christened at St Martins tin the Field, Westminster, on October 24th 1669. Surnames becamre 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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