This very unusual name is a variant by dialect from the original Norse-Viking pre 8th Century, "Kapa". The medieval spelling was "Cape", and the name was as it sounds, a metonymic for a maker of cloakes and capes. Whether the variants developed from Cape or its derivative Cope (a Yorkshire-Lancashire spelling) is not proven, nevertheless the spellings as Cowe, Coweuppe, Coop, Coope, Coape, Couppe, Coppes, Cooppe, Copes, Couope and Cowup all appear in the London Rolls and Registers from the 16th Century. Examples are Katherine Coweuppe recorded on September 25th 1599 at St. Michaels, Cornhill, John Coape recorded on January 6th 1610 at Bishopsgate and Thomas Cowup a witness at St. Sepulchres Church, London, on December 12th 1841. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Arthur Cowp, which was dated June 28th 1594, christened at St. Andrew's-by-the-wardrobe, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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