1) As a verb this was to cut off the top branches of a growing tree. It was often linked with ‘to lop’ and the severed branches were called lops and tops.
1543 which sayed springe the abovesaide Leonarde [Beckwith] occupieth … the loppys and toppys whereof he toke to his own use, Pontefract
1558 Ellis my sonne shall haue all the tymber saving the toppes therof, South Milford
1581 for fyve ocke topes xijs item more reseaved of him for the topes that was feled in the Rosse Ing ixs, Stockeld
1618 to fell presentlye, cary away shortly, I to have all topps and bowes cutt off, Brandsby. In 1738, several young trees … lately planted by Mr Richard Tottie in his Grounds … were … topp’d, cut and destroyed, Leeds.