This is an English locational name, which originates from places in Northamptonshire and Middlesex, and possibly from Northumberland as well. The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'isl' which originally described part of the River Nene, plus 'slaep' - a slippery place. It is considered that more likely the translation is a 'landing place' perhaps a slipway, somewhere where boats or good could be dragged onto the bank. The early name registers are confusing and it would seem that in some areas the surname could be a short form of 'Hislep, Heslep, Hislip and Heslop, itself locational and describing residence by a hazel covered hill top (haesel-hop). The early recordings include Walter de Islep, rector of Gresham, in Norfolk in 1305 and Beatricce Asleep, a tenant of Kings Lynn, Norfolk in the 2nd year of the reign of Edward V1 (1549). Other recordings are those of Bennett Islip who married John Withall at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on January 3rd 1618, and Elizabeth Islip, who married Benjamin Edwards at Wellesbourne, Warwickshire, on March 31st 1743. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert de Ytheslep, which was dated 1273, in the hundred rolls of Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as 'the hammer of the Scots, 1272-1307. 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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