Gnap History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancient history of the Gnap name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided one of several places named Knapp in England. The word knapp comes from the Old English "cnoepp," meaning a hilltop or summit. 
Early Origins of the Gnap family
The surname Gnap was first found in Cambridgeshire where the Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 list John Cnape as holding estates there at that time. The same rolls also list John Knapp, Buckinghamshire. Kirby's Quest lists Margaret atte Cnappe in Somerset, temp. Edward I.  The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 include: Johannes Knape and Johannes Knaype. 
William atte Kneppe was listed in Place Names of Surrey in 1294, Henry de Cnappe was listed in Place Names of Devon in 1301. 
Another source notes: "Knapp is an old south of England name. In the 14th century an influential family of Bristol citizens bore this name. Knapp was the name of an ancient gentle family of Berkshire, a branch of which two centuries ago came into the possession of the manor of Little Linford, Buckinghamshire." 
By way of confirmation of the aforementioned: "About 1658, [Little Linford] was purchased by Messrs. Kilpin and others, by whom it was sold to an ancestor of the Knapp family." The family held the parish since this early entry as in the late 1800's the source notes "The living is a perpetual curacy; net income, £66; patron and impropriator, Matthew Knapp, Esq., lord of the manor." 
The medieval Knepp Castle is found west of the village of West Grinstead in West Sussex. Built on a mound or "cnoepp," the castle was originally a motte and bailey fortress, built in the 12th century by William de Braose. In 1214, he had it rebuilt as a stone castle with a two-storey keep. Later Royal visitors included kings Henry III in 1218, Edward II in 1324 and Richard II in 1384.
Farther to the south in the parish of St. Winnow, Cornwall, the family of Knapman once held Trevegoe, which later became a farm house. But, the heiress of the family married into the Hawkey family and subsequently passed the manor to them. 
Early History of the Gnap family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Gnap research. Another 88 words (6 lines of text) covering the years 1273, 1279, 1294, 1301, 1648, 1698, 1768 and 1681 are included under the topic Early Gnap History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Gnap Spelling Variations
Until quite recently, the English language has lacked a definite system of spelling rules. Consequently, Anglo-Saxon surnames are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. Changes in Anglo-Saxon names were influenced by the evolution of the English language, as it incorporated elements of French, Latin, and other languages. Although Medieval scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, so it is common to find one person referred to by several different spellings of his surname, even the most literate people varied the spelling of their own names. Variations of the name Gnap include Knapp, Knappe, Knap, Knapper, Knapp, Knapman, Knappen, Kneppe, Knape, Knappen, Cnape, Cnappe and many more.
Early Notables of the Gnap family (pre 1700)
Notables of this surname at this time include: William Knapp, (1698-1768), an English musical composer from Wareham, Dorset; Mary Knep (Knepp, Nepp, Knip, or Knipp) (died 1681), an English actress, one of the first generation of female performers to appear on the...
Another 42 words (3 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Gnap Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gnap family to Ireland
Some of the Gnap family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Gnap family
Searching for a better life, many English families migrated to British colonies. Unfortunately, the majority of them traveled under extremely harsh conditions: overcrowding on the ships caused the majority of the immigrants to arrive diseased, famished, and destitute from the long journey across the ocean. For those families that arrived safely, modest prosperity was attainable, and many went on to make invaluable contributions to the development of the cultures of the new colonies. Research into the origins of individual families in North America revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Gnap or a variant listed above: Nicholas Knapp who settled with William and his wife and eight children in Salem Massachusetts in 1630; Thomas Knap, who settled in Virginia in 1653; P. Knappe, who settled in Philadelphia in 1820.
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- ^ Lowe, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
- ^ Dickinson, F.H., Kirby's Quest for Somerset of 16th of Edward the 3rd London: Harrison and Sons, Printers in Ordinary to Her Majesty, St, Martin's Lane, 1889. Print.
- ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
- ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
- ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
- ^ Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print.
- ^ Hutchins, Fortescue, The History of Cornwall, from the Earliest Records and Traditions to the Present Time. London: William Penaluna, 1824. Print