Our “Peapell” Name

Earliest Confirmed Records

The earliest confirmed record of “Peapell” recorded to date is in the parish records of Castle Eaton in North Wiltshire. There may be earlier records but they have not turned up so far.

On 5th November 1554 William Peopell got married in St Mary’s Curch Castle Eaton. His wife’s surname was “Buddell” but her forename is not known from the Parish records. There are no Peopell or Buddell’s  or (or any variants) in the Parish records for Castle Eaton before or afterwards. Normally at that time the custom was for the couple to be married in the brides Parish if it was different from the Grooms.

In the 1580’s there are Peapell being baptised, married and buried in near-by Latton and from 1620’s in the parish of Hannington.


So where did William Peopell come from and go to – Turbulent Times

A slim volume by Audrey Tomlin on St Mary the Virgin Church at Castle Eaton may give clues. In 1554 Humprey Galimore the Church of England Rector was replaced by Gilbert Bursley a Catholic. This was the first year of Queen Mary’s reign. The Local Landowners the Goddards were also replaced by Anthony  Hungerford and John Cryppe of Meysey Hampton.  There was an inquisition in 1555 at Cricklade for John Cryppe the elder.

In 1558 Queen Mary died and Elizabeth came to the throne. Humprey Galimore was reinstated as the Rector and the Goddards returned.   The  Goddards were also the land owners in Latton.

It was clearly a tumultuous period and likely William Peopell arrived at this time and left due to the changing religion and land owners. Did William Peopell  get married before or after the catholic rector arrived.   Did the family move to Latton (and then to Hannington) with the Goddard’s or for some other reason?  Did William Peopell arrive with the Hungerfords or Cryppes or leave for Latton because of them?  Is this a red herring?


This does not show conclusively where the name came from but gives clues on Geographic locations. They are still local to the Wiltshire borders.


Academic suggestions of etymology and history of “Peapell”


The spelling “Peapell” is not found in many sources but variants “Peaple”, “People”, “Peoples” “Pepall” are. There are two sources easily accessible; These are

  • The Internet Surname Database
  • A Dictionary of English Surnames – Oxford – Reaney & Wilson – revised 1997 (Page 346)

These both give the source back to French origins associated with popular in France in memory of the founders of the Carolingian monarchy. They also suggest many variants and deviants.

The Internet Surname Database suggests that it is in a family of spellings including Pepi, Pepy, diminutives Pepin, Peppin, Pipon, Peaple, Peepall, Pepell, Peopall, patronymics Pepes, Pepis, Pepys, Pepineux, and probably Peoples.  this ancient surname is for most spellings, definately of pre medieval French origins.

Reaney & Wilson has the family of names as Pepall, Peaple. Peopall, Peoples. Derived from Wyun , son of Pepil 1246 AssLa; Hawis Pepell 1301 Subsidy Rolls Yorkshire; John Pepil 1324 1324 Court Rolls of the Manor of Wakefield (Yorks Arch Soc 29 36 57 78 1901-45) (Yorkshire) –  Apparently a hypocoristic of Pepin


The main issue that needs to be resoled is that the name “Peapell” can be traced in Wiltshire back to 1554 but no further with any certainty. More research is required to firmly establish a link.


6 Responses to Our “Peapell” Name

  1. Judy LIPA says:

    Kevin…. ‘Greetings from Down Under’
    I’m rather a fledging in this world of ‘treeing’ as I call it, and have quickly realised that I’ve entered a vortex, a fascinating and all absorbing one at that. Further inspired to search and learn more by having read everything on your website…twice…I’m hoping there is some connection to my Great-Great Grandfather – Charles William PEAPELL b abt 1827, who, with his wife Ann (or Anna Maria (nee WARREN)) and 5 daughters, arrived in Adelaide, South Australia on 16/8/1876 on the ship Oaklands, having departed from Plymouth on 21/5/1876. There was also an elder married daughter, Eliza, who came out with her husband as Mrs Benjamin William JELLEY. It had always been of interest to me that many of my relatives had the name ‘Peapell’ incorporated as middle names. Perhaps I’d be able to help you with some of the ‘overseas’ missing links if it all somehow connects.
    Regards, Judy LIPA

  2. Toni Te Waaka says:

    Hi, I am wondering if you have any information on my great nan her name is lily elizabeth peapell died in 1923 and buried at a Ramon cemetery in whanganui, nz. Her parents are Charles Peapell and Elizabeth Peapell nee (jacklin). Both are buried with Lily.

  3. Jackie Smith says:

    My Great-Great-Great Grandmother Mary Ann Peapell (nee Godman and Blizzard) married Thomas Peapell. They came from Liverpool to Wellington NZ in 1857 aboard the ALMA with their sons and my Great-Great Grandmother Emma Godman (from Mary Ann’s first marriage to John Godman). My understanding is that there is a large family plot of Peapell’s buried in the Heritage Listed “Heads Road” Cemetery in Wanganui New Zealand. I am currently researching my Wanganui roots. Any help with Peapell’s, Shaws, and Edwards would be welcome.

    • Allen Shaw says:

      Hello Jackie. I am great grandson of Emma Shaw and trying to get a family story together. My line is: father, Adam Shaw ;grandfather David Shaw; great grandfather Joseph Shaw and great grand mother Emma Shaw. Emma’s mother married Thomas Peapell of whom I have been attempting to gather some further information. I have plenty of Shaw data for you and the Edwards tree has been done by a second cousin, Phillis Waddell.

      • Jackie says:

        Hi Allen

        Sorry I just saw your reply just now. So pleased you have information on Emma. I am writing a biography on her for the NZ Archives to go with their project on the 1893 Suffrage Lists. I guess we are 2nd cousins too. Phyllis Waddell must be an Edwards – am I correct? Would love to speak with her if possible.


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