This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval origin, and is a locations surname from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. Enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures in the 14th Century, with the development of the wool trade, was a prime cause of these disappearances, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348. The place name means a wide piece of enclosed land from the Old English pre 7th Century "wid" "wide" plus "hop" "piece of enclosed land". Recordings include one Roger Widduppe who married Alice Draper at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London on November 25th 1616. Elizabeth, daughter of John and Ann Wideup, was christened at St. James, Clerkenwell on February 26th 1693, and Sarah Weddup married Edward Hastings at St. Dunstan, London on July 9th 1797. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Widop, christened, which was dated 1596, St. Mary, Somerset, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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