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
where they held a family seat
as Lords of the Manor. After the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy
, having prevailed over King Harold, granted most of Britain to his many victorious Barons. It was not uncommon to find a Baron
, or a Bishop, with 60 or more Lordships scattered throughout the country. These he gave to his sons, nephews and other junior lines of his family and they became known as under-tenants. They adopted the Norman system of surnames which identified the under-tenant with his holdings so as to distinguish him from the senior stem of the family. After many rebellious wars between his Barons, Duke William, commissioned a census of all England
to determine in 1086, settling once and for all, who held which land. He called the census the Domesday Book
Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
indicating that those holders registered would hold the land until the end of time. The first on record of the name appears to be Robert Lepere, who was listed as a Templar in Warwickshire
Early History of the Leeper family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Leeper research.Another 117 words (8 lines of text) covering the years 1200 and 1295 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)
More information is included under the topic Early Leeper Notables in all our PDF Extended History products
and printed products wherever possible.
Migration of the Leeper family to the New World and Oceana
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 CITATION[CLOSE]
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)
- John Leeper, who arrived in North Carolina in 1763
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.