This most interesting and unusual name is a patronymic (i.e., son of) from "Corpe", which in Yorkshire and Suffolk comes from the old Norse word "Korpr", meaning raven, while in Oxfordshire it derives from the old French word "corp", raven, hence the name was probably a nickname for a person with jet black hair or bearing some other fancied resemblance to the bird. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages. Many modern surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics. The surname itself first appears in the late 12th Century (see below). One William le Corp was recorded in 1231 in the Cartulary of Oseney Abbey, Oxfordshire. The Minister's Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall mention one James Corp in 1296. Esther Corpes married William Young on April 18th 1686 at St. Katherine by the Tower, London, while one Mary Corpse was christened on February 15th 1697 at Stainton by Stockton, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter le Corp, which was dated 1177, "The Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King henry 11, "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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