This interesting surname, with variant spellings Philips, Philliphs, Philps, and Phelips, is a patronymic form of the male given name Philip, itself coming from the Greek "Philippos", a compound of "philein" to love plus "hippos", horses; hence "lover of horses". Philip of Macedon, father of Alexander the Great, was a famous bearer of the name, and its popularity throughout Greece and Asia Minor was largely due to him. The name was borne by five kings of France, including Philip 1, who reigned from 1060 to 1108. It entered England via France in the 12th Century and appears as "Filippus" in the "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire (1142). One Henry Phelipe, was noted in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Norfolk. The patronymic form of the name also appears at this time (see below). The final "s" being a reduced form of "son of". John Phippes is registered in the Calendar of Plea and Memoranda Rolls (1364). The Phipps family, who are Marquesses of Normandy and Earls of Mulgrave, are descended from Constantine Phipps (1656 - 1723), who was Lord Chancellor of Ireland. A more humble cousin, Sir William Phipps (1651 - 1695), was born in Maine, America, where his parents had emigrated. He was originally a ship's carpenter, but was knighted by Charles 11, and rose to become Governor of Massachusetts. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alicia Philippes, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire", 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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