This intriguing and unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is one of that large group of interesting modern surnames which were gradually developed from the habitual use of nicknames. In this instance, the nickname was one given to a trader who made frequent use of the vendor's cry "good cheap". The phrase derives from the Middle English "gode", good, from the Old English pre 7th Century "god", with "ch(e)ap", bargain, barter, from Old English "ceap". The medieval phrase "good cheap" was used when the market was good for the purchaser, that is when prices were low, and the nickname was for one who gave a good bargain and advertised his wares by calling out this phrase. The surname development includes William Gudchep (1236, London), and Hamo Godchape (1315, ibid.). The modern surname can be found as Goodchap, Goodcheap and Goodship. One William Goodship was christened at Wandsworth in South London on the January 9th 1681. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Godchep, which was dated 1166, The Norfolk Pipe Rolls, 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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