This name, with variant spellings Jessop, Jessup and Jessep, represents a usual pronunciation of the male given name Joseph in the Middle Ages. Deriving from the Hebrew "Yosef", the name means "may God increase, or add (another son)", and was first recorded in its Latinized form "Josephus" in the Domesday Book of 1086. Joseph (without surname) appears in Records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk, in 1141, and a Henry Joseph, appearing in the 1191 Pipe Rolls of Hampshire, was the first recorded bearer of the surname. One Umfridus filius (son of) Josep was recorded in the Curia Regis Rolls of Hertfordshire, dated 1205, and a William Josep was recorded in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. The 1379 Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire record one Willelmus Josop, and the 1524 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk show a Joan Josopp of Jesopp. Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriages of Anne Jessop and Hercules Cheynie on September 4th 1628, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, and of William Jessop and Joane Greene on March 10th 1644, also at St. Dunstan's, Stepney. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes Jesop, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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