Show ContentsChephan History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The name Chephan is Anglo-Saxon in origin. It was a name given to a merchant. Chephan is an occupational surname, which belongs to the category of hereditary surnames. Occupational surnames were derived from the primary activity of the bearer. In the Middle Ages, people did not generally live off of the fruits of their labor in a particular job. Rather, they performed a specialized task, as well as farming, for subsistence. Other occupational names were derived from an object associated with a particular activity. The surname Chephan is derived from the Old English word ceapman, which means merchant. [1] Therefore, this surname would have been taken by someone whose primary occupation was that of a merchant. The earliest record of someone bearing the surname Chephan in England was in Cambridgeshire, prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066.

Early Origins of the Chephan family

The surname Chephan was first found in Cambridgeshire, but early rolls proved the widespread use of the name, By example, the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed Thomas le Chapman in Leicestershire and Grante le Chapman in Devon; the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 had entries for the surname and as a trade, Alicia Shepshank, chapman; Agnes Chapman; Magota de Brandon, chapman; and Henricus Schapman. [2]

"From Kent to the North Riding the descendants of the ancient travelling merchants, or "cheap - men" (Anglo - Saxon Ce'apman) occur in singularly constant numbers. Their preference for the coast counties would seem to show that their travels were sometimes on the seas; yet it would also appear that the attractions of the great metropolis brought them together in numbers in the south - eastern counties. Kent stands foremost as their present abode. " [3]

To the north in Scotland, the earliest "ocurrence of the name seems to be in 1296 when a pardon was granted to a man for causing the death of Ralph Chepman in Dundee." [4] A few years later, William Chapman was provost of Aberdeen in 1327 and is probably the Willelmus dictus Chapman who appears on an inquisition in the same town in 1333. Hugh called Chepman held a land in fee in the town of Roxburgh in 1338 and King David II granted a charter of the lands of Rotherstoun near Dee to Duncan Chapman. [4]

Walter Chepman (1473?-1538?), was a Scottish printer, burgess and merchant in Edinburgh. "The years of Chepman's birth and death are not precisely known, probably 1473-1538. His name, frequently misspelt Chapman, was by himself always written and printed Chepman. He first appears in 1494, when a payment of 20l. was made to him and Stobo by the treasurer for their services as clerks in the office of the king's secretary." [5]

Early History of the Chephan family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Chephan research. Another 142 words (10 lines of text) covering the years 1359, 1367, 1359, 1387, 1396, 1507, 1559, 1634, 1616, 1780, 1853, 1621 and are included under the topic Early Chephan History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Chephan Spelling Variations

Until the dictionary, an invention of only the last few hundred years, the English language lacked any comprehensive system of spelling rules. Consequently, spelling variations in names are frequently found in early Anglo-Saxon and later Anglo-Norman documents. One person's name was often spelled several different ways over a lifetime. The recorded variations of Chephan include Chapman, Chappman, Chepman, Cheppman and others.

Early Notables of the Chephan family (pre 1700)

Distinguished members of the family include Sir John Chapman of Westhampnett, Sussex. George Chapman (1559-1634) was an English poet, scholar, playwright, and translator. He was best remembered for...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Chephan Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Chephan family to Ireland

Some of the Chephan family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 119 words (8 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 Chephan family

Thousands of English families boarded ships sailing to the New World in the hope of escaping the unrest found in England at this time. Although the search for opportunity and freedom from persecution abroad took the lives of many because of the cramped conditions and unsanitary nature of the vessels, the opportunity perceived in the growing colonies of North America beckoned. Many of the settlers who survived the journey went on to make important contributions to the transplanted cultures of their adopted countries. The Chephan were among these contributors, for they have been located in early North American records: Francis Chapman, who settled in Virginia in 1623; followed by Anne in 1623; Benjamin in 1674. George Chapman, who settled in Barbados in 1635; Henry Chapman, who settled in Jamaica in 1684.

The Chephan Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Crescit sub pondere virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue thrives under oppression.

  1. Arthur, William , An Etymological Dictionary of Family and Christian Names. London: 1857. Print
  2. Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  3. Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. 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)
  5. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print on Facebook