This is one of the several interesting English place name surnames which include 'Up' as the prefix. These include Upchurch, in the county of Kent, Upham a village in Hampshire, Uphill, a parish in Somerset, and Upfold, believed to be a lost or diminished medieval village in Suffolk. All have given rise to surnames, and all have the same basic meaning. This is 'upper' or 'higher', and refers to a place, usually a village, which stands above another place of similar name. These other places would sometimes be called 'Lower' as in the village Lower Higham in Kent, or sometimes 'Under' as in the village name of 'Sutton under Whitestone cliffs,' in Yorkshire. Surprisingly perhaps the 'Lower's' which might have been attached to the 'Up's' in the above names, all appear to have disappeared, if they ever existed. Locational surnames are also usually 'from' names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original villages, and moved somewhere else. Examples of early recordings include examples such as Nicholas de Upham in the Hundred Rolls of Wiltshire in 1273, Henry Uphill or Uppenhill, also in the Wiltshire Hundred Rolls of the same year, and Thomas Upchurch of Colchester in Essex, in 1620.
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