Recorded as Apjohn and Upjohn, this is an Anglo-Welsh surname. It is one which owes its origins to a combination of Welsh and the activities of the Knight Templars of the 12th century. It is a developed form of the biblical name 'Yochan' introduced as John or Johan into Europe mainly by returning Crusaders (Knight Templars) and pilgrims from the Holy Land in medieval times. It is estimated that there are now over one thousand surname spellings of Yochan or John, making it as a group, the most popular of all surnames anywhere in the Christian world. The name means 'god has given me a son', and in the medieval Welsh 'Ap John' or the 'son of John' is cognate with the Gaelic 'Mac Ewan'. Throughout the Middle Ages almost all Christian names in Wales developed the prefix of 'ap' so that the early recordings included Nycholas Ap-Thomas at St Diois Backchurch in the city of London in 1557, and John UpHarrye, which changed later to Parry, at the same church in 1563. Roger ap-John was listed amonst the Wills Register of the city of Chester in 1638, whilst James and Mary Upjohn were witnesses at the christeneing of their son Francis at St James Clerkenwell in the city of London, in 1750. Over the centuries the prefix 'ap' was either dropped completely as with the name Thomas, or 'fused' as in Ap-Richard, now Pritchard. Apjohn or Upjohn is a rare survivor.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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