Recorded in various spellings including Copleston, Coplestone, Copplestone, and possibly others, this is an English surname. It is locational from the village of Coplestone, in the parish of Colebrook, South Devon. The name means 'the rocking stone', a reference to an early natural phenomena, which seems to have been destroyed in Victorian times. The village is first recorded as early as the year 974 a.d. in the famous Anglo-Saxon Chronicles, often described as the first newspaper. The derivation is from the pre 7th century word 'copelan' meaning to rock or move. Locational surnames are usually 'from' names. That is to say names given either to the lord of the manor and his descendants, or more usually to former inhabitants of the particular place who moved somewhere else in search of work. The easiest way to identify such strangers, was to call him or sometimes her, by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick often lead to the developement of variant spellings. In this case early examples of the recordings include Hugo de Copleeaston in the Hundred Rolls of Devon in the year 1273, and Sir John Copplestone who was buried at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London in 1662.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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