This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from some minor or unrecorded place, perhaps a "lost" village. There are an estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from Britain since the 12th Century; the prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool-trade in the 15th Century, and natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished. The original place is believed to have been situated in Northern England, because of the large number of early recordings in that region, and the derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "mos", moss, bog, swamp, and "hop", a piece of enclosed land in the midst of fens; hence, "enclosed land in a swamp". It has also been suggested that the name is from Mosshope Fell in Dumfreisshire. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Margaret Mossop and Thomas Lynaker at Bidston, Cheshire, on June 25th 1634, and the marriage of George Mossop and Jane Deeves on August 24th 1643, at St. Martin Pomeroy, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Mosowppe, which was dated August 8th 1615, a witness at the christening of his daughter, Anne, at Witton le Wear, Durham, during the reign of King James 1 of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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