Cornwall, a rugged coastal region in southwestern England. Quite distinct from Devon, the adjoining county, Cornwall had its own spoken language until the late 18th century. The Shapel history began here. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames were derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Unlike most Celtic peoples, who favored patronymic names, the Cornish predominantly used local surnames. The Shapel family originally lived in Yorkshire, at Shipley.
Early Origins of the Shapel family
Cornwall where they held a family seat from very ancient times.
Early History of the Shapel family
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Shapel Spelling Variations
spelling variations. The frequent changes in surnames are due to the fact that the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules. The official court languages, which were Latin and French, were also influential on the spelling of a surname. Since the spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. Lastly, spelling variations often resulted from the linguistic differences between the people of Cornwall and the rest of England. The Cornish spoke a unique Brythonic Celtic language which was first recorded in written documents during the 10th century. However, they became increasingly Anglicized, and Cornish became extinct as a spoken language in 1777, although it has been revived by Cornish patriots in the modern era. The name has been spelled Sharpley, Shapley, Shapleigh, Sharply, Shapell, Shaple, Sharple and many more.
Early Notables of the Shapel family (pre 1700)
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Migration of the Shapel family to the New World and Oceana
Early records show that people bearing the name Shapel arrived in North America quite early: Nicholas Shapliegh of Devonshire settled in Boston in 1635. James Shapley arrived in Pennsylvania in 1878; Charles Sharpley settled in Boston in 1765.
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