Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Pepper Name
England, North German
Origins of Name:
The surname Pepper can be traced back to many different medieval origins in Britain. The name was used to describe a person in the family who worked selling spices, pepper or as a spicer themselves. It was used as a nickname for a small man (i.e. peppercorn size), for a person with a quick temper, or for a person with dark hair (i.e. peppercorn color). It was also used to describe someone who rented a property, but the landlord stipulated there was no ground to pay rent. The renter was thereby declared to be paying “peppercorn” rent. The name was first recorded in the east of England, in Leicestershire on early census roles where the Pepper Clan held political and economic power in the area, were medieval lords and lived in a manor.
More common variations are:
Peppera, Poepper, Peppher, Piepper, Pepperr, Peepper, Pepperi, Peipper, Peppero, Peper
Ashkenazi Jewish Variant:
All derivations of the surname come from the word peper, from the Latin word piper meaning pepper. The most common namesake of the surname Piper was used for pepper merchants or spice merchants. Other derivations of the word can be attributed to an Old French word pivre, also meaning pepper.
The first known spelling of the name was in 1197. Robert Peper in Norfolk was recorded on financial records maintained by the English Treasury. King Richard I introduced a personal tax and surnames were mandatory to keep track of who had paid their taxes.
The next earliest known recordings of the name are Roger Peiver in 1198 and Alice Peper in 1241 in Essex. The name was also recorded in London in the 13th century for a John Pepper (Peyvre).
Throughout the middle ages, the surname Pepper was found in Cambridgeshire; however, many of the families switched back and forth between the French and English form of the name.
The church first recorded the name in the 17th century for a William Peppard at the church of St Grefory’s.
One of the earliest settlers in the 13 colonies would be Francis Pepper. In 1635 Francis Pepper would depart from London on a ship named “Globe of London” and arrive in Virginia, one of the original 13 colonies.
A famous tomb inscription of William Pepper, descendant of Richard Pepir, reads:
“Tho’ hot my name, yet mild my nature,
I bore good – will to every creature;
I brewed fine ale, and sold it too,
And unto each I gave his due.”.
In the 1891 United Kingdom census, there were over 4,000 people recorded with the surname Pepper.
14,000 in the United States
7,000 in England
2,000 in Australia
2,000 in Canada
2,000 in South Africa
Art Pepper (1925) American jazz musician
Barry Pepper (1970) Canadian actor
Conor Pepper (1994) Irish soccer player
George W. Pepper (1867) U.S. Senator
James Welsh Pepper (1853) founded J.W. Pepper & Son
John Henry Pepper (1821) English scientist
William Pepper Jr. (1843) Philadelphia physician
Pepper Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Pepper blazon are the lion, sickle and griffin. The two main tinctures (colors) are gules and or.
Red in heraldry is given the name Gules, sometimes said to be the “martyr’s colour”. The colour is also associated with Mars, the red planet, and the zodiacal sign Aries . Later heralds of a more poetical nature would sometimes refer to the colour as ruby, after the precious stone..
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” . Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun . In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ .
The art of heraldry would be significantly poorer if we were without the lion in all its forms. Most general works on Heraldry devote at least one chapter solely to this magnificent creature and its multifarious depictions . Some of the earliest known examples of heraldry, dating right back to the knighting of Geoffrey of Anjou in 1127, where he is shown with six such beasts upon his shield .The great authority on heraldic symbology, Wade, points out the high place that the lion holds in heraldry, “as the emblem of deathless courage” , a sentiment echoed equally today.
Both the sickle and the scythe are implements instantly recognisable to a person of the middle ages, and are depicted in their conventional forms. In addition to their obvious assocation with farming, Wade suggests that they can have a wider meaning of “a fruitful harvest of things hoped for”.
In the mediaeval period there was no real percieved difference between real and mythical animals, after all, much of the world remained unknown and who was to say what strange and magical creatures existed in distant lands? As heraldry developed a whole menagerie of imagined creatures came into being, and their various representations became more or less standardised in form and appearance. The griffin is perhaps the most common of these creatures, being a chimera with the body of a lion and the head and wings of an eagle. . It is most often in the pose known as rampant segreant, on its hind legs with claws and wings extended. Vinycomb has much to say on the subject of the griffin, perhaps summarised in his belief that it represents “strength and vigilance”.]