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Pepperrell Name Study

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Location: United Kingdommap
Surnames/tags: Pepperrell Pepperell
This page has been accessed 93 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:

Variant names

The common variants of the name are Pepperrell, Pepperell, Pepperrall and Pepperall.

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

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.

Historical 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

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).

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

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