This intriguing surname recorded as Scaplehorn, Scapelhorn, and the probably original Skoopholme, is English. It originates from a now "lost" medieval village believed to have been in the county of Lincolnshire or possibly Cambridge, suggested by the numerous recordings in those counties. The derivation is probably from the pre 7th century Old English "sceap" meaning sheep, and "holme" from the Old Norse "holmr", generally meaning a small island in fenland. The phenomenon of the lost village was as a result of enforced clearance and fencing of the common land, sometimes because of land drainage which had much the same effect, the tenats lost their grazing rights, and more natural causes such as the various great plagues which decimated the population fro centuries, civil war, and in Lincolnshire, coastal erosion. It is estimated that some five thousand such places have disappeared from British maps in the past five centuries, most giving rise to surnames, often the only reminder that they ever existed at all. Examples of the surname recordings include Richard Scapelhorn at St Olave's Southwark in the city of London on August 17th 1639, and Hannah Scaplehorn, christened on August 25th 1782 at St. Michael's, Cambridgeshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name in chruch registers which did not commence until at the earliest 1535, may be that of Helen Skoopholme. This was dated November 18th 1564, at South Somercotes, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st and known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.