In the medieval period and even earlier the holder of this name would rarely have been out of a job. Generally recorded in the spellings of Cush, Cuss(e), or even Kiss(e), the derivation is from the Old French "Cuisse" and referred to the makers of leather armour for the thigh area. The leather had to be particularly thick and strong enough to deflect a spear or sword. A mounted soldier later became known as a Cuirassier if he wore leather, rather than steel armour. The English surname was more properly "Kisser" or "Kissa", but perhaps for obvious reasons this form lost popularity and only four examples are to be found in the latest London Telephone Directories (1991). The Coat of Arms is a silver field, a black chevron charged with three silver fountains. In the dexter chief is a silver knights spur known as a mullet. Examples of the surname recordings include John Kisse in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Leicester, Thomas Kysse in the 1329 Court Rolls of Suffolk, and John Cusse in the Rolls of Warwick in 1430. On July 18th 1638 William Cush was recorded at St. Swithins Church, Stonegate, London, and James Cush was a witness at St. Benets Church, London, on March 10th 1754. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Kisere, which was dated 1224, in the records of St. Bartholomews Hospital, London. during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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