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Pepperrell Name Study

Privacy Level: Public (Green)

Location: United Kingdommap
Surnames/tags: Pepperrell Pepperell
This page has been accessed 14,723 times.
This Name is also registered with the Guild of One Name Studies.


About the Project

The Pepperrell Name Study project serves as a collaborative platform to collect information on the Pepperrell name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join the study to help make it a valuable reference point for other genealogists who are researching or have an interest in the Pepperrell name.

As a One Name Study, this project is not limited to persons who are related biologically. Individual team studies can be used to branch out the research into specific methods and areas of interest, such as geographically (England Pepperrell's), by time period (18th Century Pepperrell's), or by topic (Pepperrell DNA, Pepperrell Occupations, Pepperrell Statistics). These studies may also include a number of family branches which have no immediate link with each other. Some researchers may even be motivated to go beyond the profile identification and research stage to compile fully sourced, single-family histories of some of the families they discover through this name study project.

Also see the related surnames and surname variants.

Name Origin

Variants: Peverill, Peverell, Pepperell, Pepperrell, Pepperall, Pepprell
  • Current frequencies: GB 145, Ireland 0
  • GB frequency 1881: 66
  • Main GB location 1881: scattered in England: esp. London
Norman, English: relationship name from Old French Peurel (Latin Piperellus ), a diminutive of Old French pevre ‘pepper’ (Anglo-Norman French peivere , Latin piper ), originally perhaps used as a nickname on the Continent but used as a personal name in Anglo-Norman England.
Early bearers:
Willielmus Puirellus, 1080 in Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, p. 802; Ran(n)ulphus Peurellus, Piperellus, W(illelmus) Peurel, Piperellus, 1086 in Domesday Book; Willelmo Peverello, about 1087 in Regesta Regum Anglo-Normannorum, p. 409 (Notts); Geruasius filius Peurelli, 1130 in Pipe Rolls (London); […] Peverel, 1205 in Curia Regis Rolls (Essex); Richard Peuerel, 1186–1210 in Saint Benet of Holme Register (Norfolk); William Peuerell’, 1221 in Assize Rolls (Warwicks); William Peperel, 1224 in Clerkenwell Cartulary (Middx); Hugh Piurel, 1315 in Patent Rolls (Christchurch, Hants); Ricardus Pevurel, 1381 in Poll Tax (Pendomer, Somerset); John Peperill, king’s groom-porter, 1398 in Patent Rolls; Richard Peperell’, 1428 in Feet of Fines (Devon); William Peverell, 1563 in PROB 11 (Colchester, Essex); Robert Pepprell, 1629 in IGI (Plymouth, Devon); John Peverelle, 1715 in Parish Registers (Blessed Virgin Mary, Witham Friary, Somerset); Martha Peverall, 1729 in IGI (Barnard Castle, Durham); John Peverill or Peverel, 1751 in IGI (Gainford, Durham); Charles Pepperrell, 1760 in IGI (Exeter, Devon).
  1. C. Clark, in P. Jackson, ed. (1995), Words, Names and History: Selected Writings of Cecily Clark , Cambridge, pp. 111–12.
  2. Patrick Hanks, Richard Coates, and Peter McClure, The Oxford Dictionary of Family Names in Britain and Ireland, Publisher: Oxford University Press, Print Publication Date: 2016, Print ISBN-13: 9780199677764, Published online: 2016, Current Online Version: 2016eISBN: 9780191781797 (Accessed: May 2020)
William Peverel was a natural son of William the Conqueror, who entered England at the Conquest. 'In Domesday it is continually spelt Piperellus. Mr. Planche: (Journal of Arch. Assoc. viii. 196) conjectures that it had a personal signification, and that 'it is a corruption of Puerulus, which is almost identical with Peuerellus, as we find it written in the Anglo-Norman Pipe and Plea Rolls' (v. Lower's Patr. Brit). This would make the meaning to be Littleboy. It does not seem satisfactory. In any case Pepperall, Pepperell, and Pepperill are variants of Peverall. - A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames, written: 1872-1896 by Charles Wareing Endell Bardsley.

Name frequency

According to an ONS database there are some 195 Pepperrells as of September 2002 making it the 21637th most common name in England and Wales, however there are 712 Pepperells making it the 8635th most common name and 92 Pepperalls making it the 34906th most common name.

Distribution of the name

The Pepperrell surname, including the possible variants found by the British 19th Century Surname Atlas (version 1.20 © Archer Software, 2003-2015), appears to be spread throughout England, predominately in Devon, Somerset, Wiltshire, Surrey and Middlesex, with the odd outposts in Wales, Jersey and Guernsey (see 1881 Distribution by County image on this page).

Related Surnames and Surname Variants

Note: Not currently one of the surname tags for this project but included here for completeness:

Notable occurrences of the name

Sir William Pepperrell, 1st Baronet (27 June 1696 – 6 July 1759) was an American merchant and soldier in Colonial Massachusetts. He is widely remembered for organizing, financing, and leading the 1745 expedition that captured the French garrison at Fortress Louisbourg during King George's War. During his day Pepperrell was called "the hero of Louisburg". He is the great-great-great grandfather of actor Robert Hardy. Wikipedia
Eddie Louis Pepperell (b. 1991) is an English professional golfer who plays on the European Tour. In February 2018, he won his first European Tour event at the Qatar Masters. In October 2018, he won his second European Tour event at the Sky Sports British Masters. Wikipedia

How to Join

To join the Pepperrell Name Study, first start out by browsing our current teams and research pages to see if there is a specific study ongoing that fits your interests. If so, feel free to add your name to the Membership list below, post an introduction comment on the specific team/research page, and then dive right in!

Once you are ready to go, you can also show your project affiliation with the ONS Member Sticker:

... ... ... is a member of the Pepperrell Name Study Project.

If a team or research page does not yet exist for your particular area of interest, please contact the Name Study Coordinator: Phillip Pepperrell for assistance.

Task List

  1. Monitor the Pepperrell Surname Activity Feed.
  2. Monitor the Pepperrell Surname dbErrors Feed.
  3. Monitor the Pepperell Surname Activity Feed.
  4. Monitor the Pepperell Surname dbErrors Feed.


  • Phillip Pepperrell - The family research began back in the 1960's when my uncle Les wanted to find out more about his mother. I guess the stories that most families have, rags to riches and back, etc., always stuck in my mind; particularly when told by my uncle that it was better to “Let sleeping dogs lie”. My brother Brian took over the family research which showed our great grandfather, his father, uncle and brother (all plasterers by trade) had moved to Surbiton, Surrey from Exeter, Devon. During his research he had contact with a number of other people with a Pepperell in their family tree via the Devon FHS. Since 2013 I have been attempting to trace my own ancestry, building a collection of Pepperrell/Pepperell records.


We are braver and wiser because they existed,
those strong women and strong men.
We are who we are because they were who they were.
It’s wise to know where you come from, who called your name.
Maya Angelou

In all of us there is a hunger, marrow deep, to know our heritage - to know who we are and where we came from. Without this enriching knowledge, there is a hollow yearning. No matter what our attainments in life, there is still a vacuum, an emptiness, and the most disquieting loneliness.
Alex Haley, Roots

Why They Came To London

I recently received the last copy of the book Why They Came To London by Michael Barefoot from his son. The book is A study of five selected ancestors who came to London early in the 19th Century; eventually to be related, or their descendants to be related, by marriage. They had the surnames of BAREFOOT, MOSS, JAMES, McINTOSH & PEPPERELL.

In Chapter 7 - A Tale of Many Parishes the story is told of the Pepperells of Slapton and Stokenham, detailing the direct line to the author, and their migration from rural Devon to London. The chapter contains a rhyme about the spelling of the Pepperrell surname. I am not sure where it originated or who the original author was; Michael Barefoot refers to it as "an ancient little ditty!" but does not mention it's origins. Seems like the ancient scribes and clerics had the same problem spelling the Pepperrell surname as people do today.

Would writers learn to rightly spell
The Ancient name of Pepperrell
Then please these easy lines recite
And one will surely have it right
Of letters four make ten from these
of p's and r's and l's and e's
Begin with p and e and then
Use all the letters that you can
That is to say in Pepperrell
Use doubles p and r and l.

Research Notes

  1. Discover the relationship between the first Pepperrell to arrive in the United States in 1670s and families in Devon.
  2. Discover the migration of Pepper(r)ell families from England to other parts of the globe.


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