This interesting surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Conquest of 1066. The derivation is from the Old French "corp" (Old Norse "korpr"), raven, and would have been given as a nickname to someone with black shiny hair. This is an example of that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames. The nicknames were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of characteristics, such as physical attributes or peculiarities, mental and moral characteristics, including supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress and occupation. The surname was first recorded in the latter half of the 12th Century (see below) and can also be found as Corp; William le Corp is noted in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire (1231). Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include; the christening of Henry, son of Henry and Elizabeth Corpe, on January 20th 1647 at St. Dunstan's, Stepney; and the marriage of Thomas Corpe and Susan Holland on September 28th 1648 at the same place. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a silver shield with three stumps of trees couped and eradicated green, the Crest being a yew tree proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter le Corp, which was dated 1177, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", 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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