This unusual surname is English from County Durham in the north east of the country. It is locational from a place called Urpeth, which has the somewhat unusual translation of 'The bisons path' and was first recorded in the pipe rolls of the county in 1297. The bison or buffalo was found throughout Europe until the 16th century when it was largely, or entirely in the Britain, replaced by cattle, which were more efficient animals for all purposes of farming. There is little or no difference between the American and the European bison, they are both large, humped, slow moving and fairly timid. However Urpeth village may be the only place in England which has a definitive link with these animals. Early examples of the surname recording include John Urpeth, a christening witness at Jarrow, on July 1607, and much later, that of Elizabeth Urpeth who married William Lovely at the church of St John the Baptist, Shoreditch, in the city of London, on January 29th 1853.
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