Recorded in many spellings all though all are quite rare, and including Whimp, Whimper, Whimple, Wimp, Wimper, Wimple, Wimpy and Wimpey, this is an English surname. It has at least two origins. The first is occupational and describes a maker of 'wimplels', an Olde English veil later much associated with nuns. Secondly it may also be locational from the village of Whimple in Devonshire, or Wimpole in Cambridge. The Devonshire village appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as 'Winpule', from the Olde English pre 7th century 'winn' meaning white and 'pol' a pool.Sadly although the village remains by modern standards 'unspoilt', that is a relative term and it no longer has a clear pool suitable for use as drinking water. Wimpole in Cambridge probably has the same meaning, although the Oxford Directory of English Place Names claims that it means Winn's pool. However with winn meaning white, the argument is circular. Occupational surnames only usually became hereidtary when a son or sometimes a daughter, followed a father or mother into the same line of business. In this case early examples of the recordings taken from the surviving registers of the diocese of Greater London include Alice Whimper at St Mary Aldermary, on July 15th 1610, Robert Wimpe at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on August 16th 1688, and William Wimpey at St James Westminster, on May 30th 1765.
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