- This interesting surname with variant spellings Copestake, Copestick, Capstack, etc., is an occupational name for a woodcutter, deriving from the Old French "coupe(r)" meaning "to cut" plus the Middle English "stikke", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "sticca", stick or stake. The surname dates back to the late 13th Century (see below). Early examples of the surname include Henry Coupestack (1301) recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Yorkshire, and John Copestake (1474) in the Register of the Freemen of the city of York. London Church Registers show the marriage of Anne Capstock and Felix Metcalf, on January 24th 1572 in St. Giles, Cripplegate; Antonye Capstocke who married Bettris Willmore on June 25th 1615 in St. Bride's Fleet Street, and the christening of William, son of James and Margarett Capstick, on June 17th 1749 in St. Mary Aldermary. One Elizabeth Capstick married Graham Williamson in St. Giles, Cripplegate, London, on August 25th 1774. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey Coupstak which was dated 1295 in the Register of the Freemen of the city of York, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as 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.