This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "biscop, bisceop", bishop, in Middle English "biscop". The ultimate origin is from the Greek "episkopos", overseer, from "epi", on, over, with "skopein", to look. The early Christians adopted the Greek word for the overseers of their local communities, and derivatives of the term are now found in every European language, for example "obispo", in Spanish, and "Bischof" in German. In England the surname from "bishop" was applied for a number of reasons; for service in the household of a bishop; for some supposed resemblance to the bearing or appearance of a bishop; or from selection as the "boy bishop" on St.Nicholas's Day, the 6th of December. The surname development since 1166 (see below) includes: Thurstan le Byssop (1240, Essex), and Thomas le Byscop (1297, Cornwall), while the modern forms include Bishop, Bishopp and Bisshopp. Among the recordings of the name in London is that of the marriage of John Bishopp and Agnes Langton at St. Gregory's by St. Paul, on August 26th 1577. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is three bezants on a red bend cottised, on an ermine shield, the Crest being a silver griffin sejant resting the dexter claw on an escutcheon, also silver. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lefwinus Bissop, which was dated 1166, in the "Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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.
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