This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a place thus called, north west of Rochdale in Lancashire. Recorded as "Cuhope" circa 1200 in the Coucher Book of Whalley Abbey, and as "Couhop" in the 1324 Lancashire Inquests, the placename derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cu", cow, with the Olde English "hop", translating variously as "piece of enclosed land in the midst of fens, dry land in a fen", or "small enclosed valley". This initial element is also found in such placenames as Cowhill in Lancashire; Cowdale in Derbyshire; and Cowden, Kent, which points to its widespread use as a naming element. Locational names were originally given to the lord of the manor, or as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. The surname, with variant spellings Cowp, Cowoppe, Cowape, Cowup and Coupe, is particularly well recorded in Lancastrian Church Registers from the mid 16th Century. On September 9th 1577, Alice Cowpe and Henry Walkden were married in Leigh, Lancashire, and on November 13th 1578, Rauffe, son of John Cowpe, was christened at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is a silver shield with an azure chevron between three rose branches slipped red, leaved green. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elin Cowp, which was dated July 13th 1540, marriage to Andrewe Towrs, at Aldingham, Lancashire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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