The name Naper comes from the ancient Scottish kingdom of Dalriada, where it was used to indicate someone who worked as a person at a royal court who was in charge of the tablecloths and linen, which were collectively called the napery.
, in the reign of Henry I, William de Hastings held the manor of Ashele in Norfolk
by the service of taking charge of the napery, i.e. tablecloths and linen at the coronation of the English kings. The first record of the name in Scotland
is c. 1290 when John Naper obtained from Malcolm, earl of Lennox
, a charter of the quarter-land called Kylmethew." CITATION[CLOSE]
Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
Early Origins of the Naper family
The surname Naper was first found in Perthshire
(Gaelic: Siorrachd Pheairt) former county in the present day Council Area of Perth and Kinross, located in central Scotland
. "A Scottish legend, however, assigns a widely different origin. In a great battle between the Scots and some enemy, whose nation is not specified, the former were on the point of losing the day, when one Donald, son of the then Earl of Lennox
, seized a standard, and rallied the retreating soldiers. This act of prowess changed the positions of the combatants, and resulted in the complete triumph of the Scots. The king on hearing of Donald's bravery, declared that he had NA PIER "no equal"; commanded him to assume those words as a surname; and gave him lands in Fife
, and the lands of Goffurdor Goosford." CITATION[CLOSE]
Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
This "legend" may not be a legend but in fact based on truth as both aforementioned versions of the family's origin agree that the family descend from the house of Lennox
and their forebears used the name Lenox alias Napier. Yet another source claims that "It is said that Donald, a son of the Earl of Lennox, for his bravery in battle, had his name changed by the king to Napier. After the battle, as the manner is, every one advancing and setting forth his own acts, the king said unto them, 'Ye have all done valiantly, but there is one among you who hath 'Na Pier, ' ' and the king gave him lands in Fife
and Goffurd. " CITATION[CLOSE]
Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
Suffice to say, the family's allegiance and fierce battle strength without fear, cannot be in question. Further to the south, the Hundredorum Rolls
of 1273 had two entries for the family, both in Oxfordshire: Jordan le Nappere and Thomas le Nappere. CITATION[CLOSE]
Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
Early History of the Naper family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Naper research.Another 245 words (18 lines of text) covering the years 1280, 1294, 1308, 1401, 1437, 1440, 1451, 1550, 1610, 1550, 1617, 1560, 1637, 1603, 1661, 1625, 1660, 1606, 1673, 1683, 1642, 1700, 1690, 1698, 1700 and are included under the topic Early Naper History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Naper Spelling Variations
Since medieval scribes still spelled according to sound, records from that era contain an enormous number of spelling variations
. In various documents Naper has been spelled Napier, Naper, Napper, Naiper, Napeer, Neaper and others.
Early Notables of the Naper family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the Clan
from early times was George Napper (Napier) (1550-1610), an English Roman Catholic priest, a Catholic martyr, beatified by Pope Pius XI; John Napier (1550-1617), a famed mathematician and inventor of logarithms, this eighth laird of Merchiston was also extremely involved in religious debates (he was a staunch... Another 130 words (9 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Naper Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Naper family to Ireland
Some of the Naper family moved to Ireland
, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.Another 60 words (4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Naper family to the New World and Oceana
Descendents of Dalriadan-Scottish families still populate many communities across North America. They are particularly common in Canada, since many went north as United Empire Loyalists at the time of the American War of Independence
. Much later, in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the highland games and Clan
societies that now dot North America sprang up, allowing many Scots to recover their lost national heritage. Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America bore the name Naper, or a variant listed above: Patrick Napier settled in Virginia in 1655; John Napier settled in Philadelphia in 1798; Charles Napier settled in Charles Town [Charleston], South Carolina in 1823.
- ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)