This page draws primarily from Geoff Clarke's work. He conducted a great deal of research in the 1980s and 1990s. In addition, Anne Kratzmann conducted some primary research in the late 1990s and early 2000s, prior to Geoff finding Anne at the end of 2003 and providing copies of his information to us.
This page presents what is known about the upper line of Cheepers, to about 1780. Separate pages provide information on the middle Cheeper line (about 1780-1800), and the lower Cheeper line (about 1800-1850).
The line relevant to this web-site is child 3.
During the period c. 1600 - c. 1850, the surname Cheeper appears to have been inter-changeable with Cheaper, Chipper and Chippar. For example, the elder Anthony Chipper had a brother Isaac Chippar, baptised 20 March 1763 (both at Mitcham, Surrey, now Greater London), to parents Edward Cheeper and Jane Royal: so the father and two sons are recorded with three variants of the name. There are also several occurrences of Cheaper, as late as 1911, although in most cases apparent mis-spellings by others.
During the 17th and 18th centuries, the name was unusual, but our line was not alone, e.g. a Helen Cheeper was baptised on 23 July 1696 at Leuchars, Fife, father John Cheeper, mother Christian Johnson. No connection has been found.
A non-authoritative reference (link broken in late 2014) states that Cheeper is a variant of Chapman (which is by coincidence the name of the suburb where I've lived since 1984). It says “Chapman is common in England and in the United States. Some twenty of the name came to New England before the year 1700. The name comes from the Anglo-Saxon ceapmann, ceap = barter + mann = man. In German it is Kaufmann, with the same definition, supposed to have been given to certain persons on account of their occupations. Chipman, Chapaper, Chipper, Cheeper , are variations. Cognates include Chapelle, Capell (French); Capela (Provencal); Capella, Capelle (Italian); Capilla (Spain); Capela (Portugal); Capel, Van Keppel, Van Keppel (Dutch); Van de Capelle (Flemish)”.
We speculated for some years that the name Cheeper may have derived from Jewish migrants, but we've found no evidence to support the idea. One reason was that many Jews were traders (cf. ceapmann). And they had involvement in the East London rag trade, as did Anthony's father, a ribbon manufacturer. Further, the spelling could be an anglicised version of an Eastern European name, such as Szeiber (possible Yiddish, which Anne found on a Jewish site), and Sieper (which may be Hungarian?).
A Jewish immigrant family was mentioned in a book entitled 'The Streets of East London' by W J Fishman, maybe c. 1900. A photograph shows an Abraham Cheeper with his wife and family. He was a dealer in clothing of all kinds. When Anne pursued this, it turned out that the man's name was Cheepen, and had been mistaken for Cheeper because a photograph truncated the surname on a sign advertising clothing. (I went to visit a man in Devon once because I thought he was a Cheeper, but he turned out to be a Cheepen. We were both disappointed).
Anne also found a German-born Anthony Cheeper, mason, in Gateshead in the 1861 census, aged 28, i.e. b. 1832-33. It might also be Cheepen, but looks like Cheeper to us and did to the transcriber.
Anne also found in the History, Topography and Directory of Warwickshire 1830 a mention of a James Cheeper, painter, plumber and glazier, High-st. It also has (our) Anthony Cheeper, Ribbon manufacturer entered one above. James could possibly be a son of Isaac Cheeper (the first Anthony's brother), or of one of his sons' children. But because this is the sole mention in the records for a James Cheeper, Geoff Clarke is suspicious of this being a transcription or printing error.
Edward Chipper/Cheeper (?1720s->1758)
where was he born?
m. 30 Nov 1754, Mitcham
m. Jane Royal/Royle (?1723->1763?/1778?)
Jane was illiterate, and the surname spelling is variable
Jane was aged 31, so b. 1722-23
A separate page has some limited information about the Royal/Royle family.
They are mentioned in the records of a Quaker Meeting house at Kingston.
But there are no other mentions of Royals in the Quaker records.
A settlement certificate, dated 24 Jan 1757, was issued to St Lawrence Jewry, London from St Mary's in Wimbledon, showing them (as Chipper) and children 1-2. (When people moved between parishes, the new parish required a settlement certificate from the old parish. It evidenced the responsibility of the original parish to support the family in their own Workhouse, should that be required).
By 1758, they were in Mitcham.
All of the children were baptised as Chipper, but called themselves Cheeper [an officious clerk?].
The first 6 children were b. 1755-1763, when Jane was 32-40.
The last 5 children were b. 1765-1778, when Jane was 42-55 – assuming her birth-year was indeed 1723.
As far as we know, only child 3. Anthony had issue (the first of three Anthony's in succession.
We're missing a lot of information; and we'd love to know more!
This a page within Roger Clarke's Family Web-Site
Contact: Roger Clarke and/or Anne Kratzmann
Created: 21 October 2005; Last Amended: 9 November 2009, 30 Mar 2016 (Anne's extras from the Registers)