This study is no longer registered with the Guild, but this profile page has been retained. Please note that neither officers nor members of the Guild are able to answer any questions about this study.
Family history, genealogy and ancestry of the surnames Heppenstall, Heptinstall, Hepplestone, Heptonstall, Haptonstall, Heppinstall, Hempenstall and Heppleston.
The study was started in 2001 and grew out of my efforts to trace my own ancestry (Heppenstall was my mother's maiden name). However, to paraphrase the words of the old popular Lee Wiley song, I am now interested in 'Any Hep, Any Time, Any Place'.
Information about Heppenstall heraldry can be found here.
About 12 true variants and over 100 alternative spellings of the surname Heppenstall are recognised and will be referred to as 'Heps' from now on.
In the 1881 census of England and Wales the seven most common variants were Heppenstall 32%, Heptonstall 18%, Heptinstall 13%, Hepplestone 7%, Heppleston 7%, Heppinstall 5% and Hepponstall 3%.
In the 2002 Office of National Statistics Database the seven most common variants in England and Wales were Heppenstall 31%, Heptinstall 23%, Hepplestone 10%, Heptonstall 9%, Heppinstall 9%, Hempenstall 8% and Heppleston 7%.
In the 1880 USA census the five most common variants were Heptinstall 18%, Hep(p)install 16%, Haptonstall 15%, Hep(p)enstall 13% and Heptonstall 7%. The surname Hippensteel and variants is found in the USA but is not included in this one-name study as it is considered to be an occupational surname of German origin (from hippenstiel: a maker of scythe handles).
As with most surnames, variants came about from differences in local pronunciation and errors in recording and transcription. I have learnt the hard way that different variants and spellings may be recorded in the same family and even in the same individual at different times.
It is a locative surname derived from the village of Heptonstall which is near Halifax in the old West Riding of Yorkshire. Information about Heptonstall village can be found here.
The first examples of the surname were recorded in the Halifax area in the late 13th century. By the 15th century the name had appeared in the Pontefract area. The surname had dispersed widely in England and Ireland by the beginning of the 18th century although the majority were still in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Worldwide occurrences of the name are found in the 19th century with Australia, Canada and the USA at the head of the list after England and Ireland.
The place-name Heptonstall itself derives from the Old English 'hebdene' meaning rose-hip valley and 'stall' meaning stable, hence 'the stable in the valley of the rose-hips'. More on the derivation of the place-name Heptonstall here.
There are a few Heps who have become famous outside their own circle of family and friends. Here are a selection in the order of their birth:
In the 1881 census of England and Wales there were 1,186 Heps giving a prevalence of 43 per million population or 1 in 23,000.
In the 2002 Office of National Statistics database there were 3,567 Heps in England and Wales giving a prevalence of 71 per million population or 1 in 15,000.
In the 1880 USA census there were 326 Heps giving a prevalence of 7 per million population or 1 in 154,000.
In the 1930 USA census there were 599 Heps giving a prevalence of 5 per million population or 1 in 205,000.
In the 1881 census the English county with the greatest prevalence of Heps was the West Riding of Yorkshire with nine times the average national prevalence. The hottest spots were in the Pontefract and Hemsworth areas. 1881 prevalence map here.
In 2002 the English county with the greatest prevalence of Heps was West and South Yorkshire combined (roughly equivalent to the old West Riding), which had nine times the national prevalence. The hottest spots were in the Wakefield and Huddersfield postcode areas (Wakefield, Dewsbury, Hemsworth, Featherstone, Pontefract, Knottingley, Castleford, Huddersfield, Brighouse, Marsden, Holmfirth, Denby Dale, Kirkheaton, Kirkburton and Almondbury). 2002 prevalence map here.
In the 1880 USA census the states with the greatest prevalence of Heps were North Carolina, West Virginia, Virginia, Iowa and Rhode Island, each of which had over three times the national prevalence.
In the 1930 USA census the states with the greatest prevalence of Heps were Alabama, West Virginia, Virginia and Washington, each of which had over three times the national prevalence.
The study contains all Hep entries from the England and Wales GRO BMD Indexes 1837-1940 and grants of probate 1858-1940. These data can be searched on the Guild's Heppenstall Archive website here.
Other data include:
Complete extracts of the IGI, British VRI and the 1841-1911 censuses for England and Wales.
Most of the index entries of the PCC and PCY wills before 1858.
Some British parish register entries of baptism, marriage and burial.
Complete extracts of the 1790-1930 USA censuses and Social Security Death Index.
Complete extracts of the 1851-1911 Canadian censuses and some Ontario births, marriages and deaths.
The study also includes over 160 reconstructed or submitted family trees.
A Heppenstall and variants Y-chromosome DNA project has been registered with the main test companies. More information can be found here.
Heppenstall Archive at The Guild of One Name Studies here.
Heppenstall DNA Project here.
Ancestry Heppenstall Mailing List here.
Genforum Heppenstall Mailing List here.
Ancestry Heptinstall Mailing List here.
Genforum Heptinstall Mailing List here.
Ancestry Heppleston Mailing List here.
Ancestry Heptonstall Mailing List here.
Genforum Heptonstall Mailing List here.
Genforum Hempenstall Mailing List here.
This page last updated 13 January 2012.
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