Many surnames are of Olde English re 10th century topographical origins, and derive from residence by some locally prominent feature such as a valley, hill or even a single bush. An extension to this group brings in more specific descriptions, examples being Townsend, Bitherway, Nash (at the ash), and in this case ap thorpe - by the farm. There are many places called "Thorpe" with or without suffix or prefix,and included amongst these is the village of Abthorpe in Northamptonshire. However whilst this may the place of origin, all the early recordings suggest that the name derives from the Howden District of East Yorkshire, and from a now "lost" village.This is not unusual, at least five thousand medieval villages, the source of surnames, are no longer in existence. In Howden registers the surname appears as Apthorp, Apthorpe, Apethorp, Apthrop etc, the same family appearing in different spellings in Elizabethan times and later. Examples of the recordings include Thomas Apthorpe of Howden in 1622, whilst in London on January 16th 1625, Edward Apthorpe was a witness at the christening of his son also called Edward, at St Benets Church, Pauls Wharf, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Jarvis Apethorpe, which was dated November 18th 1549, a witness at Howden Church, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as "The boy king" 1547 - 1554. 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.