Seppings Name

Seppings_Coat of Arms_crop

The name Seppings, originally from East Anglia, England, is thought to have derived from the nickname ‘Sevenpence’, someone not very tall.* One of the earliest listed is John Wolman Sevenpens (1403) in the Calendar of Norwich Freemen 1317-1603: Edward II to Elizabeth Inclusive under Henry IV. In 1524, the name was recorded in the form Sevenpennys and Sevynpenys. Through the centuries, Seppings has been spelt Seppens, Sippins (1540), Sypphinge, Sibbinge (1548), Sibbynge (1552), Seppins (1625), Sipins (1674), Sepens (1674), Sipping (1694), Sippons (1761), Sepings, Sippings and Sepping.

In Our Family History (1989), Faith Packard wrote, ‘It may have originated in north Suffolk as it appears in documents from the Halesworth – Blythburgh area in the 14th and 15th centuries. The parish registers of Fakenham in North Norfolk and the parishes round about have frequent mentions of the name from the beginning of the registers in the mid 16th century.’ In Suffolk, the Seppings name was referenced in 1540 when Nycholas Sevenpennys held lands and a family seat as Lord of the Manor.**

In Fakenham, Norfolk, where the Seppings name is deeply rooted, a fire damaged the town on 4 Aug, 1738 and, unfortunately, the early parish registers were lost and in them ancestral information on the Seppings. Other historic documents shedding light on the Seppings name may also have perished in the Norwich Central Library fire in 1994.

If you have the name Seppings in your family and you come across another Seppings you will be related. ‘The name never became widespread,’ wrote Faith Packard in 1989. ‘Though Seppings families are still met with in Norfolk the current London Telephone Directory lists only one Sepping and one Seppings.’ I met that one Sepping in a philosophy class he and I attended at the University of London, 1988.

There are various family history sites on the internet which estimate the numbers of Seppings on record. In 2017, ‘Ancestry’ claims to have 14,107 historical documents with the Seppings name, including 4,751 Births, Deaths and Marriages, 4,089 Census and Voter Lists, 160 Military Records and 112 Immigration Records. ‘My Heritage’ lists 3,141 people with the Seppings name and 917 with the name Sepping. 55% of Seppings lived in Great Britian, 18% in the United Kingdom, 18% in South Africa and 9% in Australia.

‘Research My Name’ states the Seppings name has been established in Europe for nearly 100 years, originally from Britian. They claim records dating back to 1131 suggest there was a contingency of Seppings’s in the county of Leicestershire, though I have not been able to verify this. Neither can I find a reference to their assertion, ‘It is written that a late 18th century Seppings could out drink a Rhino.’ Perhaps so. Many Seppings have been known to enjoy a drop. I agree with their conclusion of Seppings Traits. ‘The Seppings family are well known for their happy personalities.’ Although not all have had happy lives, just look at those smile lines. Listen to a Seppings laugh.

It is interesting to learn that all Seppings were law-abiding – at least there are no criminal records to be found. What the Seppings family name does carry is an extensive military history. Fifteen Seppings men, mostly from England, served in the First World War. Francis Edmund Henry Seppings of Wagga Wagga, NSW, was in the 1st Light Horse regiment at Gallipoli. Edmund Henry Seppings, the first Seppings to arrive in Australia was a Lieutenant with the Royal Navy, as was his father, John Milligen Seppings whose only brother, Sir Robert Seppings, naval architect, is a name well regarded in the history of shipbuilding and one of the most highly commemorated as a surveyor in the Royal Navy.

‘Seppings Blocks’ was a name given, in 1800, to the invention by Robert Seppings, then master shipwright assistant in the Plymouth dockyard, of a device which reduced the time and labour required for inspecting and effecting repairs to the lower hulls of ships in dry dock.

There were two ships named Seppings. The first Seppings, a barque of 393 tons, left Calcutta in 1839 and arrived in Port Jackson, 1840, via Port Phillip, carrying a cargo of sugar and 18 convicts from India, with four soldiers. The second, Sir Robert Seppings, a 628 ton ship, arrived at Van Diemen’s Land from Woolwich, England, in 1852, with 220 female convicts.

In 1826, Major Edmund Lockyer, first cousin of Sir Robert and John Milligen Seppings, hoisted the British flag at Albany and, on claiming Western Australia, an act which officially brought the whole of the Australian continent under the control of the British Crown, he named the freshwater lake there, Lake Seppings. There is a Seppings Island off the west of Vancouver Island, BC, Canada, and a Seppings Hill in Ewes, Scotland. Seppings Peak can be found on the island of Naungdaw, Rakhine, Myanmar. The Eskimo village, Kivalinagmiut, on the arctic coast between Point Hope and Cape Krusenstern, was named Seppings Cape by Cpt. F. W. Beechey, in 1827, while exploring the Bering Straight. Seppings Lagoon, Alaska, is on the shore of Chuckchi Sea, 22 miles NW of Kivalina, Kotzabue-Kobuk Low.

Pearson_Maya_The Pines_Kirby Cane_England_20011101068

There is a Seppings Road in Norfolk, England, and in the Bangalore district of Karnataka, India, where Edmund Henry Seppings’ brother, Vice Admiral William Lawless Seppings, served in the military cantonment of the British Raj. In Albany there is a Seppings suburb and a Lake Seppings Drive. There is a Seppings Close in Wilburton, Ely, Cambridgeshire; a Seppings Way in Norwich, Norlfolk; and a Seppings Court in Flagstaff Hill, South Australia.

Various businesses have displayed the Seppings name. A Public House in Norfolk had the name Hogge and Seppings from 1861 into the 1920s. W. J. Seppings Butchers, makers of the famous Seppings sausage, was established in 1919 and still supplies meat to Suffolk and Norfolk from the original shop in Beccles. J. Seppings’ Boot Repairs in Yerong Creek, south of Wagga Wagga, NSW, was destroyed by fire in 1923. There was a Sepping’s Universe Cycle Store in Sydney, NSW, in the 1950s, which expanded to several stores and were run by three generations of Sepping. Alan J Sepping Pty Ltd was a Bicycle Accessories & Repairs shop in West Ryde, Sydney, until 2015.

The Seppings name is found as a fictional character, the butler ‘Seppings’, in the award-winning British comedy Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, and as Samuel Seppings, a ‘stolid-looking working-man’, called as a juror in Chapter 15 of The Red Thumb Mark by R. Austin Freeman. At Dripstone and Mumbil, NSW, in the 1930s, locals played tennis there for the Seppings Cup.

In the first generation of Australian Seppings there were four girls born. One died. The two boys, Edmund Henry Seppings and Francis Merewether Seppings carried on the Seppings name. Edmund Henry Seppings, my great-grandfather, had ten children. Three girls were born and it seems only one survived (though I don’t know when she died). My grandfather, Edgar Shelley Seppings, had five boys and of the three girls born, two survived. From the five boys, three daughters and ten sons were born. All survived. Those ten sons produced fifteen daughters and ten sons. One of those boys has had a son and the name Seppings lives on in a new generation. My grandfather’s brothers produced six sons between them, but of their five sons, one has died and only one boy is born to the current generation.
Francis Merewether Seppings had four sons and four daughters. His boys had five daughters and eight sons between them. The eight sons had five girls and six boys. For some reason, one of Francis Merewether Seppings’ sons, Francis Obediah, dropped the last ‘s’ on his Seppings name and so there is a branch, living in Sydney, with that spelling.

The names Lockyer, Milligen and Staines, from maternal lines, were repeatedly used as middle names for Seppings boys. As was Merewether – due to a family connection. Seppings has been used for a middle name in the Armstrong, Beloe, Buck, Clitherow, Codner, Colthurst, Cosens, Godfrey, Harper, Harrison, Hook, Howlett, King, Laws, Lock, Mitchell, Moore, Noye, Puttock, Tayton, Tirard, Wilson and Wright families, in England, usually with Robert as the first name. Seppings was also used as a first name in the Hook family. The Seppings name appears hyphenated for the famous artist, Henry Charles Seppings-Wright (1850-1937) and there is currently a Sooväli-Sepping as well as several Sepping in Estonia.

Of all the preferred names in Seppings families, John Milligen was used five times (2 were lieutenants), and in the Laws and Puttock families. Robert Seppings was repeated five times, straight, and once with Seymour added. William was used nine times; Thomas, five. Edmund, Edward, and Francis were used four times each. The most popular girl’s names were Charlotte and Mary. Some of the female names, such as Mary Seppings (nee Rapley), acquired the Seppings name through marriage. When my mother, Joan Katherine Webster (b. 1929), married my father, Edgar Shelley Seppings, she took on the same name as his sister, Joan Catherine Seppings, who died as a baby one month before my mother was born.

In the 1800’s, when a child died, the next born of the same sex was usually given the same name. Edmund Henry Seppings named his first son after himself (there was also another Edmund Henry in the Burma branch) and named his first daughter after Grace Darling, an English lighthouse keeper’s daughter who, in September 1838, became famous for seeing the shipwrecked Forfarshire off the Northumberland coast and helping to rescue nine survivors in a lifeboat. Grace Darling Seppings died in her first year but the name was given to the next daughter who survived. Edmund Henry Seppings’ son, Edmund Henry, named his first born daughter Grace Darling as well, but she, too, died in infancy.

My father, Edgar Shelley Seppings, had the same name as his father, the middle name was attributed to one of the most influential English Romantic poets. Shelley was radical in his poetry as well as in his political and social views. Sentiments not lost on the Seppings family or in the passing of time.

*Dictionary of English Surnames by P. H. Reaney
** ‘Research My Name’ website

Our Family History (1989), Faith Packard

‘Seppings Name’ image cropped from Seppings Coat of Arms grant doc. (1825)
‘Seppings Road – Norfolk, England’ photograph by Katherine Seppings (2001)


About Katherine Seppings

Artist, Writer, Photographer
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19 Responses to Seppings Name

  1. Hi, enjoying your hard work on the family tree, well done. Cheers Janine

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Robert Sepping says:

    Hi cousin – my grandfather was John Austin Sepping (founder of AJ Seppings PTY LTD trading as Universe Cycles stores – yes AJ went by JA or vice versa) one of his brothers was a Francis Obadiah (known as “Pat”) a glass eye maker. My understanding is our line have been Sepping (no last s) for a few generations before my grandfather and his siblings and GG Uncle Pat put the s back on. He had no children though.
    I was a member of 1/15 RNSWL (once known as 1 Light Horse Regiment AIF and have never known a Seppings served therein and I would have noted that name in the 1LHR nominal rolls. Do you have more info on him?
    Thanks very much, regsrding how Lake Seppings was named – I’ve been trying to find out how that happened for years and you should hear the myths about that I’ve heard, laugh.
    PS i had it from a heraldry expert that a “seven pennies” was a type of soldier. A mercenary soldier at the time of the doomsday book was a “penny a day man” and a sevenpennys was paid by the week because his skills / expertise / rank were expected to survive for weeks not risked everyday.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Robert Sepping says:

      PS i had it from a heraldry expert that a “seven pennies” was a type of soldier. A mercenary soldier at the time of the doomsday book was a “penny a day man” and a sevenpennys was paid by the week because his skills / expertise / rank were expected to survive for weeks not risked everyday.


    • Hi cousin Robert, great to hear from you. I was hoping to make contact with someone from your family line. (I wonder if you can fill in some missing dates of births, deaths and marriages, and some names?) From the records I have, your great grandfather was Francis Obadiah – go to ‘Family Names’ on the menu and it will drop down all the families/ancestors related to our Australian Seppings branch. Click on ‘Seppings’ and scroll down the generations to Gen 8 to find Francis Obadiah. You appear in Gen 11. Francis Obadiah was the first to drop the ‘S’ in Australia. My uncle Frank said he’d heard it was out of fear during WW1 that people might have thought he was German. I doubt this as ‘ings’ is very English. There is one family line in London without the ‘S’ but quite removed from ours, likewise with the ‘Sepping’ line in Estonia.
      Francis Obadiah Sepping(s) married May Anastasia Woodcock and had four children. He was the son of Francis Merewether Seppings who was one of the two sons of Lt Edmund Henry Seppings (the first Seppings in Australia). I am descended from his other son, also named Edmund Henry Seppings. If you contact me through the contact page I can share more by email and a document showing just your family line.
      It is interesting to hear about the “penny a day man” and any connection there might be to the name Seppings. In the 11th century, ‘a penny could be said to be equated to a day’s skilled wage’. In the Domesday Book, ‘skilled warriors’ were considered worth allowing for more than their ‘non-combatant retinue’ due to costs for the purchase of supples. The most skilled, of course, were knights.
      My next post will be about the Seppings in the Royal Navy and then one about Sir Robert Seppings, your namesake. I will write one about the Australian Seppings in the military down the track but I can give you more info by email about Francis E H Seppings from Humula who fought at Gallipoli in the 1st Light Horse regiment.


  3. P. Richards says:

    Amazing all that History – thank you to whomever collated & published all this information – I learnt so much…
    Major Edmund Lockyer & his 2nd Wife Sarah Morris are my GG Grandparents.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, P Richards. I collated and published the blog posts and the lists of family branches – all of the information on the website. I have loved researching and learning about our ancestors and where and how they lived. It is amazing history. Major Edmund Lockyer was the brother of my gg grandmother, Ann Maria Marshall Lockyer. She married Lt John Milligen Seppings. I will write more on the Lockyers, particularly on the historic deeds of your gg grandfather, and where he and Sarah and family lived in Australia. If you wish to ‘follow’ the blog you will receive an email letting you know when the stories are published.


      • Jenny Leggett says:

        Hello Katherine
        I have found your website and read with great interest as I think we may be related.
        My grandfather Henry Lockyer Seppings Born in Burma was the son of Lockyer Seppings and Ma San Mi. He married Edna May Blazey [ Seppings ]
        My cousin has looked at the family tree and Sir Robert Seppings was highlighted!
        I would love to follow your blog.
        I am in the UK

        Liked by 1 person

      • T Smythe says:

        That is amazing…..someone has been doing a lot of work building the Family Tree. My Fathers name was Henry – (b 1917). His Mother (Mary Killalea b 1895) is from the Line of Major Lockyer & Sarah Morris. It is so interesting we never know who will appear the further we go back. Orlando Lockyer the Major’s Brother was the black sheep in Family. I read on the web that he fought one of the last duals in Ireland. He killed one of the Army Privates (from memory). I love the name Charlotte – I started to Research on my Grandmothers side (Richards) and discovered her. She is my GGG Grandmother from Bradford/Yorkshire. She worked in the Mill with my – they migrated to Australia in 1882. They had an entirely different life to the Lockyer Family. One day I happened to mention I wish I had a Convict in the Family Tree – she laughed and said you have. Edward Killalea was a 19yrs of age and a Farmer in Kiltormer/Galway Ireland. He had been drinking in the local Pub with Mates for into a fight and one of the Boys was killed. He was Charged with Manslaughter and sentence to Life in Australia – he arrive about 1830 on the Hulk Captain Cook lll. He was eventually given his Ticket of Leave and became an Alderman with the Shell Harbour Council (he was literate). I went to a Commemeration with Members of the Killalea Family. A Plaque has been installed on the Beach area. The Beach is named Killalea Beach – Edward lived there for many years with his Wife and 9 Children, she eventually left him. One day a Killalea man met a Lockyer Woman they married and my Grandmother was born. I had a hardworking Mill Worker, a Major in the British Army and a Convict

        I only learnt all of this in my 60’s – because I had no interest in Family History. I met Relative that had been Researching the Family/s for years they sent me information on the Lockyer’s and a world opened up that I never knew existed. My Grandmother Mary Killalea/Lockyer told me one day you have a famous man in your Family and you have to go to Perth. I was only about 14 at the time and just forgot about it. When I heard I was related to the Major and he had raised the Flag for Mother England in WA the penny dropped.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Julie says:

        Hi – how do I sign up for your emails – I am a Cousin of yours.
        Major Edmund Lockyer & Sarah Morris & his Daughter ~
        Emily Catherine Jersey Lockyer
        Major Lockyer has left his mark with his accomplishments in Australia & no one has heard of him – I live in Sydney Australia.
        Thank you for your amazing body of work
        Pam R

        Liked by 1 person

      • Thank you, Pam. Yes, the Major is a fascinating man and I am surprised we didn’t learn about him in school!
        You should be able to click on ‘Follow’ this blog and give your email address.
        Kind regards, Katherine


      • Pam R says:

        Hi Katherine
        Jennifer like you has spent many many years doing her Family Reseach which includes Major Edmund Lockyer’s Family in Australia.
        You did mention you would be researching the Major in Australia.
        I have spoken with the Historical Society in Albany Western Australia – they told me they use Jennifer’s Website – thought it might save you some time. I received message from a woman who is writing her 2nd Book about East Maitland Gaol in NSW in the 1800’s about the woman who worked in the Prison – it is so difficult to find any information about woman it was always about the men. The Gaol was hell on Earth, Hangings, Floggings it contained the most violent and the insane. Major Lockyer’s Daughter Helen Kandiana Lockyer had married the Governer Henry Stace and she became the Matron of the Gaol. Helen had been married previously to a Captain Robert Jobling RN; they lived in England he died she returned to Australia and married Henry Stace.
        I’m looking and looking to find out about Major Lockyer’s Mother Anne Grose can’t find anything other than she married Thomas a Sailmaker and Privateer.
        Pam R

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hi Pam, it is so true that there are difficulties in finding any information about the women in our family trees. Interesting to hear about the East Maitland Gaol and the connection with Major Lockyer’s daughter Helen Kandiana Lockyer marrying Governer Henry Stace and becoming the Matron of the Gaol.
        Can you give me the link to Jennifer’s website, please – I would love to see it.
        Thank you, Katherine


  4. Julie says:

    Amazing piece of Research – very informative & interesting. This would have taken years to compile. I live in Australia & Major Edmund Lockyer is my GG Grandfather & his Daughter Emily Catherine Jersey Lockyer &!her Husband Charles H Snodden.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Pam R says:

    Link to Jennifer’s website she lives in Melbourne

    Pamela Harrison is writing the Book about the women who worked in East Maitland Gaol she lives in Newcastle Area NSW.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Bronwyn McManus says:

    Hi Katherine, I stumbled across your this site today. I have an extensive Seppings family tree compiled by Anthony Seppings in Orpington UK. It covers most of the Fakenham relatives. My great grandmother was Elizabeth Maria Seppings who married Samuel Wright of Fakenham. Not sure if you have made contact with any of the UK relatives who are distant cousins of the UK. My Grandfather moved to New Zealand around 1900. Our connection goes back to 1700’s with your relative being Robert and Lydia Seppings and his younger brother Thomas Seppings who married Mary Leeder. Happy to share what i have with you as i have lots of photos and records prepared by Tony. Regards Bronwyn McManus,


  7. Celia Craven says:

    Thank you for all your hard work, this is all very interesting for us, as my husband is a descendant of Martha Milligen Seppings and James Hull Harrison. Please keep up the good work.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Celia. I’m currently writing a post which includes Major James Hull Harrison as he was married to my gg grandfather Lt Edmund Henry Seppings’ first cousin Martha Milligen Seppings and it is about their generation’s experiences in the Royal Navy. Should have ‘Part 2 of ‘The Age of Sail – Milligen, Seppings and Lockyer Military Men, England’ completed in the next week or two! So pleased you started following the website. Katherine x


  8. Lynda Lavender says:

    I was fascinated by this article, I am a direct relative of Sir Robert Seppings and the family have used Seppings as a middle name
    for generations. I have the family tree going back to Sir Robert.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Lynda, thank you for making contact. I’d love to know who you descended from – which of Sir Robert Seppings’ offspring – , and also to learn of any family names not mentioned in this article which contained Seppings, which I could add. Thanks, Katherine


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