Amongst the most important of all medieval crafts was that of barrel or tub making. The origin is Anglo Saxon, deriving from the German "kuper" itself a derivative of "kup" - a container. The word being first used in England in the 8th century. Over the centuries the spelling and the later surname became confused with other forms such as Cowper, Coupar (generally a Scottish form), and Copper, which themselves can also describe a maker of metal containers. In these cases the derivation is from the Olde English "coper", itself a "borrowed" word from the Cyprian "cyprium" meaning "bronze". This latter description is confirmation of the trade existing between "Britannica" and the near east before the time of the Christian era. The surname is not surprisingly one of the earliest on record in England, and likewise in America, Walter Cooper being recorded in "The Muster of the Inhabitants of Virginia" as early as 1619, and prior to the arrival of the Mayflower (1620). Early recordings include those of Selide le Copere of Norfolk in 1181, John Copper in the 1424 Friary Rolls of York and Ricardus Cowper, also recorded and Richard Cooper, Ecclesfield, Yorkshire on October 10th 1562. The Coat of Arms is a silver field, charged with three red martlets, a red chief engrailed charged with three gold annulets. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert le Cupere, which was dated 1176, in the Pipe Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Church Builder", 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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