This long-established surname is of early medieval English origin, and is either a metonymic occupational name for a maker of caps and hats, or a nickname for a wearer of some kind of noticeable headgear. The derivation is from the Middle English word "cappe", cap, headgear, ultimately from the Olde English pre 7th Century "caep", reinforced by the Old Norman French "cape", introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. Job-descriptive surnames originally denoted the actual occupation of the namebearer, and later became hereditary, and nicknames were given with reference to personal characteristics such as physical attributes or peculiarities, and to habits of dress. One Alward Cappe was noted in the 1178 Pipe Rolls of Kent, and a Roger Caps appears in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Somerset. The final "s" attached to the name indicates the patronymic, and is a reduced form of "son of". In the modern idiom the surname takes the forms: Capp, Cape, Capps, Caps and Capper, the "-er" of Capper being an agent suffix. On February 3rd 1556, Thomas, son of Steve Capp, was christened at St. Benet Fink, London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Capp family depicts three gold spurs on a black shield, the Crest being a gold winged spur; another held by the Cappe family is a red shield with a silver fesse dancettee, in chief three caps of the last. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Cappa, which was dated 1111, in "Early London Names", during the reign of King Henry 1, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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  • caps — abbrev. capitals …   English World dictionary

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