Show ContentsLeeper History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The Leeper surname is thought to have evolved independently from two distinct sources. Some instances of the name come from the Middle English "le pere," from the Old English "le-ap," meaning "a basket;" in which case the name was occupational for a basket maker. Other instances of the name come from the Old English "hle-apere," meaning a "dancer," "runner," or "courier," and the name would have been either occupational or nickname.

Early Origins of the Leeper family

The surname Leeper was first found in Warwickshire the first on record of the name appears to be Robert Lepere, a Knights Templar in Warwickshire in 1185. Later in Essex, Geoffrey Lepere was listed in the Curia Regis Rolls for 1221. Richard le Lepor was recorded in 1298. [1]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 included: Geoffrey le Lepere, Oxfordshire; Walter le Lepere, Buckinghamshire; and Robert Leper, Lincolnshire. In Yorkshire, Alicia Lepar was listed there in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379. William le Poure was found in the Close Rolls, 1 Edward I (during the first year of the reign of King Edward I.) [2]

Early History of the Leeper family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leeper research. Another 59 words (4 lines of text) covering the years 1200, 1295 and 1713 are included under the topic Early Leeper History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leeper Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names tend to be marked by an enormous number of spelling variations. This is largely due to the fact that Old and Middle English lacked any spelling rules when Norman French was introduced in the 11th century. The languages of the English courts at that time were French and Latin. These various languages mixed quite freely in the evolving social milieu. The final element of this mix is that medieval scribes spelled words according to their sounds rather than any definite rules, so a name was often spelled in as many different ways as the number of documents it appeared in. The name was spelled Leeper, Leaper, Leper, LePere, Lepere, Lepper, Leiper, Leyper, Peer, Pere, Peir and many more.

Early Notables of the Leeper family (pre 1700)

Outstanding amongst the family at this time was William Peer (died 1713), English actor. He owes the survival of his name to a humorous mention of his career...
Another 27 words (2 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Leeper Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Leeper Ranking

In the United States, the name Leeper is the 4,493rd most popular surname with an estimated 7,461 people with that name. [3]

United States Leeper migration to the United States +

Because of the political and religious discontent in England, families began to migrate abroad in enormous numbers. Faced with persecution and starvation at home, the open frontiers and generally less oppressive social environment of the New World seemed tantalizing indeed to many English people. The trip was difficult, and not all made it unscathed, but many of those who did get to Canada and the United States made important contributions to the young nations in which they settled. Some of the first North American settlers with Leeper name or one of its variants:

Leeper Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Robert Leeper, who arrived in Virginia in 1677
Leeper Settlers in United States in the 18th Century
  • Andrew Leeper, who arrived in Virginia in 1747
  • Robart Leeper, who landed in North Carolina in 1748 [4]
  • John Leeper, who arrived in North Carolina in 1763

Canada Leeper migration to Canada +

Some of the first settlers of this family name were:

Leeper Settlers in Canada in the 19th Century
  • Thomas Leeper, aged 26, a farmer, who arrived in Saint John, New Brunswick in 1838 aboard the brig "Susan Maria Brooke" from Donegal, Ireland

Contemporary Notables of the name Leeper (post 1700) +

  • Curtis Leeper, retired American soccer player
  • Evelyn C. Leeper, American writer, critic, and active member of science fiction fandom
  • Nathan Leeper (b. 1977), retired American high jumper
  • David Dale Leeper, former American Major League Baseball outfielder
  • Valentine Alexa Leeper (1900-2001), Australian classicist, teacher, polemicist, and letter-writer of renown
  • Alexander Leeper (1848-1934), Australian (Irish born) educationist
  • Sir Reginald Wildig Allen Leeper (1888-1968), British (Australia born) civil servant and diplomat

Suggested Readings for the name Leeper +

  • History of the Descendants of Samuel Harper, James, Purdy, and James Leeper.

  1. Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  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. "What are the 5,000 Most Common Last Names in the U.S.?".,
  4. Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8) on Facebook