This surname CREPS was a French habitation name from places in Aisne, Oise, and Pas-de-Calais, all so called from their Gallo-Roman landlord CRISPIUS. The name was rendered in medieval documents in the Latin form CRISPUS. It was also a baptismal name meaning 'the son of Crispin'. This name was especially popular in France in the Middle Ages, having been borne by Saint Crispin (martyred in 287). According to legend, under the reign of Diocletian he fled from Rome, with his brother St. Crispinian, and worked as a shoemaker in Soissons, while striving to spread Christianity. He and his brother suffered martyrdom in 287, by being thrown into molten lead. Their feast day is 25th Otober. The earliest French hereditary surnames are found in the 12th century, at more or less the same time as they arose in England, but they are by no means common before the 13th century, and it was not until the 15th century that they stabilized to any great extent; before then a surname might be handed down for two or three generations, but then abandoned in favour of another. In the south, many French surnames have come in from Italy over the centuries, and in Northern France, Germanic influence can often be detected.
Surnames derived from placenames are divided into two broad categories; topographic names and habitation names. Topographic names are derived from general descriptive references to someone who lived near a physical feature such as an oak tree, a hill, a stream or a church. Habitation names are derived from pre-existing names denoting towns, villages and farmsteads. Other classes of local names include those derived from the names of rivers, individual houses with signs on them, regions and whole countries. In the Middle Ages heraldry came into use as a practical matter. It originated in the devices used to distinguish the armoured warriors in tournament and war, and was also placed on seals as marks of identity. As far as records show, true heraldry began in the middle of the 12th century, and appeared almost simultaneously in several countries of Western Europe.
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