This interesting surname is of Scottish, Northern Irish and early medieval English origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it may be habitational from any of the various places in Normandy called Saint-Paul or Saint-Pol, from the dedication of their churches to St. Paul. The name was introduced into England by followers of William the Conqueror after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The second source is from a nickname for a "humble or straightforward person", derived from the Middle English, Old French "simple", simple, straightforward, humble, originally from the Latin "simplus".The surname is also popular in Scotland, and a family of this name held the hereditary post of Sheriff of Renfrewshire from the 13th Century. The first Lord Sempill (died 1513) was raised to the nobility by James 1V around 1489, and he died at Flodden. The Scottish form of the name is usually derived from the nickname. Recordings from English and Scottish Church Registers include: the christening of Alexander, son of Alexander Semple and Christian Nory, on December 22nd 1700, at St. Cuthbert's, Edinburgh, Midlothian, and the marriage of John Semple and Frances Nutt on May 25th 1776, at St. Mary's, St. Marylebone, London. The surname is also well recorded in Ireland: the marriage of John Semple and Jennett Strawbridge was recorded on June 12th 1660, at Derry Cathedral, Templemore, Londonderry. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Symon Sempol, which was dated 1271, in the "Court Rolls of the Abbey of Ramsey and the Honor of Clare", Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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