Recorded as Scipsey, Skipsea, Scibsey and Skipsey, this is an English surname and one that is sometimes recorded in Ireland. It is locational from a place called Skipsea in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Deriving from the pre 7th century Olde Scandanavian words "skip" meaning a ship, and "sae" literally sea, but in this context a harbour or inland waterway where seagoing ships could lie up, the place was named because the Vikings used it as a landing area for their ships. The surname is very early being first recorded in the latter half of the 12th century, and early alternate spellings of the name included Scipse in 1226 and Shipse in 1294. Locational surnames were usually names given to people as easy identification, either because they were the lord of the manor, or more likely as easy identification after they left their original homes, to move somewhere else. In West Cork, Ireland, where the name was relatively prominent in the past, local folklore had it that the nameholders were people "who had skipped in from the sea", because it was said that they "just appeared from nowhere". The Skipsey coat of arms has an ermine field charged with three red pheons denoting power. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Skipse. This was dated 1170 a.d, in the registers known as the Early Yorkshire Charters. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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