Knappe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
The ancestors of the name Knappe date back to the Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the Knappe family lived 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 Knappe family
The surname Knappe 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 Knappe family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Knappe 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 Knappe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Knappe Spelling Variations
It is only in the last few hundred years that the English language has been standardized. For that reason, early Anglo-Saxon surnames like Knappe are characterized by many spelling variations. As the English language changed and incorporated elements of other European languages, even literate people changed the spelling of their names. The variations of the name Knappe include: Knapp, Knappe, Knap, Knapper, Knapp, Knapman, Knappen, Kneppe, Knape, Knappen, Cnape, Cnappe and many more.
Early Notables of the Knappe 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...
Migration of the Knappe family to Ireland
Some of the Knappe 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.
Many English families tired of political and religious strife left Britain for the new colonies in North America. Although the trip itself offered no relief - conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and many travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute - these immigrants believed the opportunities that awaited them were worth the risks. Once in the colonies, many of the families did indeed prosper and, in turn, made significant contributions to the culture and economies of the growing colonies. An inquiry into the early roots of North American families has revealed a number of immigrants bearing the name Knappe or a variant listed above:
Knappe Settlers in United States in the 19th Century