This surname PEPYS was introduced into England from the Old French personal name PEPIS, brought into England by the Normans, probably during the Invasion of 1066. It is of uncertain origin, perhaps, originally a byname meaning 'Terrible, Awe-inspiring, from a root BIB, to tremble. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name was borne by several Frankish kings, most notably Pepin le Bref, father of Charlemagne, and remained popular throughout the Middle Ages. The name has numerous variant spellings which include PEPPIN, PIPPIN, PEPIN, PEPY and PEPALL, to name but a few. Early records of the name mention Ralph Henry Pipin, who was documented in the Domesday Book of 1086, and John Pepin was recorded in London in 1160. William Peppet appears in 1279 in Bedfordshire, and Richard Pepis occurs in a record in 1377. Widow Peaps of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. Pepys is the family name of the Earls of Cottenham, which title was granted in 1850. Records of the manor of Cottenham in Cambridgeshire show bearers of the name living there as early as 1290. The diarist Samuel Pepys was a member of this family.
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