Recorded in many forms including Warpole, Worpole, Worpel, Worpell, Worpoole, and Waupoole, this is a medieval English locational surname. It probably originates from 'Walpole in Marshland', - a group of hamlets in the county of Norfolk. However there is also a Walpole village in the county of Suffolk, another far away in the county of Somerset, and these may have provided examples, although we have no definate proof. Locational surnames were either those of the lord of the manor and his descendants, - or more usually was given for easy identification to a 'stranger' - when he, and it was almost always a 'he' - moved from a Walpole village to some other place, seeking work. The further people moved, the more likely a mistake was made in the name spelling, but given that only about a tiny part of the population could read or write until the 19th century, and local accents were very 'thick', it is surprising that so many like this one, have retained a recognised form for the past seven or eight hundred years. It is said that the place name and hence the surname means 'The foreigners pool' from 'walesa' - descriptive old English for a foreigner or stranger, and now most famous for the country of Wales, a place where many of the Old British fled, - and 'pol' - a pool. The first surname recording as shown below is 12th century, but the Norfolk village itself appears as 'Walepola' in the famous Domesday Book of 1086. The surname spread across England and examples include William Wagepole in Suffolk in 1206, whilst Thomas Waghepol is recorded in Leicester 1271. The name is most associated with Sir Robert Walpole (1676 - 1745), the first Prime Minister of Great Britain, earl of Oxford, and owner of the Norfolk village. The first known recording is that of Everard Wagepole in the Pipe Rolls of the county of Wiltshire, far from any known source of the name - in 1169. This was in reign of King Henry 11nd of England, (1154 - 1189).
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