The surname of THORPE was a locational name 'of Thorpe', the name of many places in England. Local names usually denote where a man lived or held land. Other spellings of the name include THORP, THARP, TURP, THRUPP, THRIPP, TORP and TORPE, to name but a few. Early records of the name mention Adam de la Throppe of the County of Wiltshire in 1272. Augustine de Thorp of the County of Suffolk, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax in 1379. Henry Chamner and Barbara Thorpe were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1728. William Thorpe and Frances Fox were married at the same church in the year 1729. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. Between the 11th and 15th centuries it became customary for surnames to be assumed in Europe, but were not commonplace in England or Scotland before the Norman Conquest of 1066. They are to be found in the Domesday Book of 1086. Those of gentler blood assumed surnames at this time, but it was not until the reign of Edward II (1307-1327) that second names became general practice for all people. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name. A notable member of the name was Benjamin Thorpe (1782-1870) the English philologist, a pioneer in studies of the Anglo-Saxon period. He edited numerous Old English texts, including 'Anglo-Saxon Poems of Beowulf' (1855). The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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