The surname of TURPIN is an English and French Norman name which was borne by the Archbishop of Rheims in medieval times. The name was brought into England in the wake of the Norman Invasion. In 1066 Duke William of Normandy conquered England. He was crowned King, and most of the lands of the English nobility were soon granted to his followers. Domesday Book was compiled 20 years later. The Saxon Chronicle records that in 1085 'at Gloucester at midwinter, the King had deep speech with his counsellors, and sent men all over England to each shire to find out, what or how much each landowner held in land and livestock, and what it was worth. The returns were brought to him'. William was thorough. One of his Counsellors reports that he also sent a second set of Commissioners 'to shires they did not know and where they were themselves unknown, to check their predecessors' survey, and report culprits to the King'. The information was collected at Winchester, corrected, abridged, and copied by one single writer into a single volume. Norfolk, Suffolk and Essex were copied, by several writers into a second volume. The whole undertaking was completed at speed, in less than 12 months. The name also appears as TURPHIN, TOURPIN, TRUPIN, TURPIE and TURFIN. Other early instances of the name mention TORPIN (without surname) who was documented in 1089, and Turfinus filius Torfini appears in the year 1130 in County Yorkshire. William Turpyn of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax in the year 1379. The bulk of European surnames in countries such as England and France were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did. The name was in Scotland at an early date and Turpin was the name of the second known bishop of Brechin (1178-98). Magister Turpinus witnessed a charter by William the Lion of the church of Foregrund, circa. 1165. Walter, son of Turpin exchanged his lands of Kenny for those of Othirlony in 1226. William Turpin was a juror on an inquisition concerning the lands of Mefth in 1262, and may have been a relative of Richard Turpin who witnessed a charter in the 12th century. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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