This notable English family name of CULPEPPER emerged as an influential name in the County of Kent, where they were recorded as a family of some note, seated at Preston Hall with manors and estates in that shire. Sir Geoffrey COLEPEPPER was High Sheriff of Kent in 1290. The name has many variant spellings which include COLEPEPPER, COLPEPPER, COLPEPER and COLLPEPER. 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. Sir Thomas COLEPEPPER of Bedgbury was Governor of Winchelsea, and Sir Thomas COLEPEPPER of Hollingburne, whose daughter Judith married her cousin John, Lord COLEPEPPER, who was the ancestor of the Martins of Leeds Castle. When the first immigrants from Europe went to America, the only names current in the new land were Indian names which did not appeal to Europeans vocally, and the Indian names did not influence the surnames or Christian names already possessed by the immigrants. Mostly the immigrant could not read or write and had little or no knowledge as to the proper spelling, and their names suffered at the hands of the government officials. The early town records are full of these mis-spelt names most of which gradually changed back to a more conventional spelling as education progressed.
Among the first settlers in North America was Henry CULPEPPER, who settled in Virginia in 1663, and Jonathon CULPEPER who arrived there in 1646.
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