This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is one of the many surnames generated by the male given name Philip, itself coming from the Greek "Philippos", a compound of "philein", to love, and "hippos", horse; 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 and subsequently in western Europe, was largely due to him. The name was born by five Kings of France including Philip 1st who reigned from 1060 to 1108. It entered England via France in the 12th Century, and appears as "Filippus" in "Documents relating to the Danelaw", Lincolnshire, dated 1142, and as "Philipus in the Gilbertine Houses Charters of Lincolnshire, circa 1150. Henry Phelipe, noted in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Norfolk, was the earliest recorded bearer of the surname. The patronymic form emerges simultaneously (see below), and in the modern idiom appears variously as Phil(l)ips, Phil(l)ipps, Phil(l)ipse, Phelps, Phelips and Phelops. John Phillips, who embarked from London in the ship "Merchant's Hope", bound for Virginia in July 1635, was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in America. A Coat of Arms granted to the Phillips family of London in 1634 is silver, a black lion rampant, collared, chained and ducally crowned gold. 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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