- Recorded in a number of spellings including Pepi, Pepy, diminutives Pepin, Peppin, Pipon, Peaple, Peepall, Pepell, Peopall, patronymics Pepes, Pepis, Pepys, Pepineux, and probably Peoples, this ancient surname is for most spellings, definately of pre medieval French origins. Most associated with Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), one of the most famous of all diarists, it derives from the personal name Pepis or Pepin, introduced into the British Isles by the Norman-French at or just after, the Norman Conquest of 1066. The meaning of the personal name is uncertain, but it was born by several Frankish Kings, the most notable being Pepin le Bref, father of the Emperor Charlemagne, in the 8th century a.d. It remained popular throughout the Middle Ages. The surname development includes John Pepes in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1279, and Hawis Pepell of Yorkshire in 1301. However it is claimed by some reseachers that the spelling as Peoples is Irish and of Gaelic origin. This is possible, almost anything is possible with surnames. The first known recording in Ireland is that of Hugh Peoples (also spelt Peebles!) of Raphoe, Couny Antrim, in 1603. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Pepin. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book for the county of Leicestershire, during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
Surnames reference. 2013.