THE SHOPLAND FAMILY
(Family history research into the SHOPLAND family) History
by Robert Shopland of Clevedon, Somerset
In the Feet Of Fines For Essex the entry for Sunday after Oct. of St Peter and St Paul (29 June?) 1199 or 1200 for the place-name Scopiland, mentions a Baldwin de Scopiland. He held the tenancy for 60 acres of land with appurts (common land).
The last sentence of this entry is very interesting. It states: 'Ten (tenant) shall do foreign service therefor'. The surname is not mentioned again (in any spelling variation) after an entry in 1208 or 1209 for a William de Scopiland. Could this be the Shopland family name moving out of Essex? The term Fine is derived from the Latin 'Finis' meaning 'end'. The term came to be applied to a judgment concerning a title to land from the late 12th century until 1834. In the Devon and Cornwall Record Society's publication Crown Pleas Of The Devon Eyre of 1298, Kalendar of Juries a Robert de Shopilande is listed for the Normontone Hundred (North Molton). The year is 1238. The Plea Rolls are records of actions brought under common law in the courts of Common Pleas, Exchequer, King's Bench, etc., from the last 12th century until 1873. Eyre was a system of justice introduced in 1166 by which the King's Justices travelled on circuits to county sessions. General Eyres were replaced by Assizes in the late 13th century. It would appear that the Shopland surname was in evidence in Devon at or before 1238.
We are told in the book The History of the Forest of Exmoor by Edward T MacDermot, that in 1250 a Richard de Wrotham died without issue. Amongst his heirs was Geoffrey SKOLONDE aged 24, a son of Emma. On the 6th February 1251, the king "accepted the homage of Geoffrey SHOPLANDE (sic) (and others) for all the lands and tenements which Richard (de Wrotham) held of the King in chief". Later in the book we read in the Perambulation made on the 22nd March 1298, "The township of Exton, Havekbrugg (Hawkridge) and Langacre (Lanacre) which (with others) the heirs of Geoffrey de SCOLAND hold".
My records show that members of the SHOPLAND/SHAPLAND family were living in Exton and Hawridge, both in Somerset. Earliest recorded dates are, for Exton 1646, and for Hawkridge, SHAPLAND 1611, SHOPLAND 1751. I also have three entries under the SHOPLANDE name, the earliest date 1640 at North MOLTON, Devon and 32 entries for SHAPLANDE, the earliest being 1556 at North Molton, 1573 at Barnstaple, with other locations at Bratton Fleming, Braunton, Stoke Rover, Tetcott and Totnes, all in Devon. I have seen in the Devon Record Office a microfilm of the Barnstaple parish register of St. peter with the entry: 'Elsbelth Shapland married John Gyll, 2 Oct 1541'. The surname was spelt Shapland so it would appear that the Shapland family was well established in Devon in the 1500's.
The names SKOLONDE, SHOPLANDE and SCOLOND are very similar to the place-names mentioned in the English Place-Name Society's book The Place-Names of Essex. They were the old names for the later spelt place-name SHOPLAND. This find also raises speculations regarding the origins of our name. Who was this Geoffrey SKOLONDE, SHOPLANDE or SCOLOND? Did the family come from Essex some centuries before the dates quoted in the book, or were they a Devon/Somerset family? Did a member of that family fall from grace, or married beneath them, thus starting a new family line, the SHOPLAND's and SHAPLAND's? Did an ancestor of Baldwin de Scopiland return to England after foreign service?
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