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Blazons & Genealogy Notes

Erminois on a chev. sa. a mullet ar. Crest—An old man's head issuant in profile ppr. banded or and gu. tied of the colours.

Origin, Meaning, Family History and Topper Coat of Arms and Family Crest

Topper Origin:

England, Germany

Origins of Topper:

This interesting and unique name has two possible origins. The first origin could be a professional name for a person related to the spinning of flax or wool work, as 'toppe' is a Middle English word for a bunch or a small quantity of hair, wool or thread, particularly the portion of thread put on the feminine part of a spinning wheel. A topper was perhaps one who put the 'toppe' on the distaff. Similarly, this name could be an Anglicization of a German professional name for a manufacturer of metal or ceramics pots from the German 'Topfer', which means a potter. In St. Andrews, Enfield one Hericus Topper married Joanna Hunsden in November 1563.


More common variations are: Toepper, Topperi, Toppers, Toupper, Toopper, Toper, Toppayer, Toppoyer, Tipper, Tapper.


The surname Topper first appeared in Saxony where they were an old family " famous in the composition of Germany and France." The family held a family seat at Thuringe in later years. The family became scattered when they were plagued by the religious fights of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Under Charles V of France, the main section introduced as Lutherans or "tout-perd" which in the Netherlands became Toupard. From this origin, "the main section went to Guernsey in 1548." Another source follows this timeline but adds "A part of the family landed in England at Sandwich, Kent, whence another offspring, Thomas Tupper, went to America in 1635, and helped to appear the town of Sandwich, Massachusetts in 1637. Another origin shows a completely different source of the name. In this case, the name appeared at "York in 1365 [when] men worked in hitting and crashing(tupant) the earth and mud, strict with straw, with rammers (tuppis) and great hammers. As the rams were named tups, these workmen may well have been named tuppers." The next source may have some agreement as previous rolls appeared as Robert Tophird in the Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire in 1327, and Willelmus Tuphird in the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379.

The very first recorded spelling of the family was shown to be that of Walter le Toppare, dated about 1275, in the "Premium Rolls of Worcestershire." It was during the time of King Edward I, who was known to be the “The Hammer of Scots," dated 1272-1307. The origin of surnames during this period became a necessity with the introduction of personal taxation. It came to be known as Poll Tax in England. Surnames all over the country began to develop, with unique and shocking spelling varieties of the original one.


Many of the people with the surname Topper had moved to Ireland during the 17th century.

United States of America:

Individuals with the surname Topper settled in the United States in three different centuries respectively in the 17th, 18th, and 19th. Some of the individuals with the name Topper who landed in the United States in the 17th century included George Topper settled in Virginia in 1685.

People with the surname Topper who settled in the United States in the 18th century included Ludwig Topper, who landed in Pennsylvania in 1753.

The following century saw more Topper surnames arrive. Some of the population with the name Topper who arrived in the United States in the 19th century included John Topper at the age of 37, arrived in New York in 1812.

Here is the population distribution of the last name Topper: United States 3,139; Germany 605; South Africa 603; Israel 424; Netherlands 208; Brazil 207; England 199; Canada 153; Argentina 90; Australia 69.

Notable People:

Nicholas Bowen "Topper" Headon was born in May 1955. He is famous as "Topper" because of his likeness to Mickey the Monkey from the Topper comic, is an English musician, well- known for his participation in the punk rock band The Clash.

Uwe Topper was born in 1940. He is a German participant researcher and writer of books about history, ethnographic and civilized subjects.

Topper Coat of Arms Meaning

The two main devices (symbols) in the Topper blazon are the old man’s head and chevron. The two main tinctures (colors) are erminois and sable.

Ermine and its variants is a very ancient pattern. It has a long association with royalty and the nobility in general and hence represents “Dignity” wherever it is found 1. The ermine pattern is white with, typically, a three dots and a dart grouping representing the tail of the furred creature.2. Erminois is a variant in which the field is or (gold) and the ermine tails sable (black).

Sable, the deep black so often found in Heraldry is believed to named from an animal of the marten family know in the middle ages as a Sabellinœ and noted for its very black fur 3. In engravings, when colors cannot be shown it is represented as closely spaced horizontal and vertical lines, and appropriately is thus the darkest form of hatching, as this method is known 4. Although it may seem a sombre tone, and does indeed sometimes denote grief, it is more commonly said to represent Constancy 5.

Heraldry is a human art, by and for people and it is not surprising that people themselves are frequently depicted in arms 6. Often these are images of knights and men-at-arms, or individual limbs, such as the “three armoured right arms argent” shown in the arms of Armstrong 7. As well as the nobility however, we also see both the mundane, ploughmen, fishermen and reapers; and the exotic in the form of club wielding savages and the Moorish or Saracen gentleman with his decorative wreathed turban 8. The old mans head is a typical example of this use of the human figure.

The chevron is one the major shapes used upon a shield, known as ordinaries. The inverted ‘V’ of the chevron is perhaps thought to have originated to represent a military scarf folded on the shield 9, or additional cross-pieces used to strengthen the shield and painted a different colour.10. It has also acquired the meaning of “Protection… granted… to one who has achieved some notable enterprise” 11, possibly becuase of its resemblance to the roof truss of a house.

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  • 1 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P39
  • 2 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 28
  • 3 A Glossary of Terms used in British Heraldry, J.H. Parker, Oxford, 1894, Entry:Sable
  • 4 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 26
  • 5 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P35
  • 6 Understanding Signs & Symbols – Heraldry, S. Oliver & G. Croton, Quantum, London, 2013, P174
  • 7 Boutell’s Heraldry, J.P. Brooke-Little, Warne, (revised Edition) London 1970, P 60
  • 8 A Complete Guide to Heraldry, A.C. Fox-Davies, Bonanza (re-print of 1909 Edition), New York, 1978, P168
  • 9 A Display of Heraldry, J. Guillim, Blome, London, 1679, (various)
  • 10 The Pursuivant of Arms, J. R. Planche, Hardwicke, London 1859
  • 11 The Symbolisms of Heraldry, W. Cecil Wade, George Redway, London, 1898 P45