- This interesting name is a dialectual variant of the metonymic occupational name Capper of Chape, denoting a person involved in the manufacture of caps and headgear, or prehaps a nickname for one who wore a particularly distinctive head-dress. It would seem that the name originates in France, in particular, Normandy or Picardy from the Olde French 'chape', hood. Capes is the patronymic form, i.e. 'son of' of cape. Recorded in St. Mary's Potherhythe, London is the christening of one Ann Jane Capes in 1807. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Cappa, which was dated 1111 - 1138, Early London Personal Names, during the reign of King Henry I, The Lion of Justice, 1100 - 1135. 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.
Surnames reference. 2013.