The name THIGPEN is of obscure origin, and there appears to be no satisfactory solution to the history of this surname. It appears to be of three-fold origin. It was a baptismal name meaning 'the son of THIGFUNS' one who was thrifty and swift. It was also a name which was applied to someone who begged for coins, and it was a locational name meaning 'one who came from THYGA's enclosure or hill' from residence nearby. The name is also spelt THICKPEN, THIGPENNY and THICKPENNY. There is a record of Leonard THICKPENNY, in 1590, minister of Enfield 'who was brought from the Kinges Bench in a coffin with a flap to open, with a writing on it in verse laid at Ledenhall gate by night' at St. Peter, Cornhill, London. Hereditary surnames were originally imported from France into England during the Norman Conquest of 1066. In the two centuries or so after the Conquest surnames were acquired by most families of major landholders, and many landed families of lesser importance. There appears to have been a constant trickle of migration into Britain between about the years 1200 and 150O, mostly from France and the Low Countries, with a small number of migrants from Scandinavia, Germany, Italy and the Iberian peninsular, and occasional individuals from further afield. During this period groups of aliens settled in this country as for example, the Germans who from the late 15th century onwards settled in Cumbria to work the metal mines. Immigration during this time had only a small effect on the body of surnames used in Britain. In many cases, the surnames of immigrants were thoroughly Anglicised. The late sixteenth century saw the arrival, mostly in London and the south-coast ports of large numbers of people fleeing from the war regions of France. A later instance of the name includes Christopher Wass and Margaret THICKPENNY, who were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in the year 1748. In the Middle Ages the Herald (old French herault) was an officer whose duty it was to proclaim war or peace, carry challenges to battle and messages between sovereigns; nowadays war or peace is still proclaimed by the heralds, but their chief duty as court functionaries is to superintend state ceremonies, such as coronations, installations, and to grant arms. Edward III (1327-1377) appointed two heraldic kings-at-arms for south and north, England in 1340. The English College of Heralds was incorporated by Richard III in 1484.
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