Recorded in a range of spellings whicxh seem to include Turnpenny, Turnpenney, Tuppenny, Tuppeny, Twopenny, and Twopeny, this very unusual surname is English. There are a number of conflicting possible origins, and it is possible that all at onetime, have had a part to play. The first is that the surname is a nickname for a "two penny" person. In medieval times two pence was equivalent to more than a days wages, and therefore a substantial sum of money. As such it may have been a nickname for a good person, one who was better than average and worth more than the usual pay. The second possible origin is from the town of Tupigny in Flanders. This region now divided between France and Belgium, was for centuries the centre of the textile industry in Europe. Many people from Flanders with skills in weaving and known to history as the Flemish Weavers, were encouraged by various English kings to bring these skills across the Channel, where they often settled in East Anglia and the West Country. Finally the name is believed by several prominent researchers to be a version of the medieval surname Turnpenny. This was also a nickname for a banker or money lender, one who worked hard to make a profit or "turn a penny," out of any transaction. Early examples of the name recording include: Ralf Turnepeny of the county of Berkshire in the year 1227, Joane Tupney, who married Ralfe Heley at St Brides church, Fleet Street, on June 17th 1621, and George Tuppeny, who married Sarah Phillips at St Giles Cripplegate, on July 10th 1768, both the latter recordings being from the surviving registers of the City of London.
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