GASPER was a baptismal name 'the son of Gaspard'. The name was very rare in England as a surname and it was originally a German and Polish given name which was especially popular in Central Europe up to the 18th century. Originally a Persian word meaning 'treasurer' it was ascribed by popular tradition to one of the three Magi. Their supposed remains were brought to Cologne from Constantinople in the 12th century, and the name gained considerable popularity in Europe after this. The name has numerous variant spellings which include KASPER, KESPER, CASPER, KASPARSKI, JASPAR, GASPARIN, GASPARRO, KASPRZAK and KASPAROV, to name but a few. Surnames as we know them today were first assumed in Europe from the 11th to the 15th Century. The employment in the use of a second name was a custom that was first introduced from the Normans. They themselves had not long before adopted them. It became, in course of time, a mark of gentler blood, and it was deemed a disgrace for gentlemen to have but one single name, as the meaner sort had. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Early records of the name in England mention JASPER Cranwell who was recorded in the year 1545 in London, and JASPER, son of JESPER Loward was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1672. Margarett JESPER was buried at St. Mary, Aldermary, London in the year 1689. A notable member of the name was Karl JASPERS (1883-1969) the German philosopher. He was regarded as an existentialist. He wrote many books, some vast, although he had little influence outside a limited circle. Over the centuries, most people in Europe have accepted their surname as a fact of life, as irrevocable as an act of God. However much the individual may have liked or disliked the surname, they were stuck with it, and people rarely changed them by personal choice. A more common form of variation was in fact involuntary, when an official change was made, in other words, a clerical error.
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