no image

Pepperrell Name Study

Privacy Level: Public (Green)

Location: United Kingdommap
Surnames/tags: Pepperrell Pepperell
This page has been accessed 540 times.
The Pepperrell Name Study is also registered with the Guild of One Name Studies.



This is a One Name Study to collect together in one place everything about the Pepperrell surname and the variants of that name. The hope is that other researchers like you will join our study to help make it a valuable reference point for people studying lines that cross or intersect.

The Pepperrell Name Study is officially registered with the Guild of One-Name Studies. You can visit study's profile on the Guild's website here:

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

How to Participate

Please contact the Study's coordinator Phil Pepperrell or post a comment below. If you have any questions, just ask. Thanks!


  1. Source any unsourced family member
  2. Using Census records to reconstruct families
  3. Discover the relationship between the first Pepperrell to arrive in the United States in 1670s and families in Devon
  4. Discover the migration of Pepper(r)ell families from England to other parts of the globe




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

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.

Name Origin and Variants

Peverall 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).

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

Pepperrell Genealogy

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.

Task List


Leave a message for others who see this profile.
There are no comments yet.
Login to post a comment.