This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is an occupational surname for a mariner, or perhaps, occasionally a ship or boat-builder. The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "scip", ship, in Middle English "schip". In a very few cases, the surname may be topographical in origin, denoting residence "at the sign of the ship", at a house, shop or tavern which had a sign depicting a ship hanging outside it. An example of such a surname derivation occurs in early records of the City of Bristol of 1230, where one Ralph at Shippe is recorded, and "Richard Stonham atte Shippe withouten Crepulgate" is noted in London in 1423. The modern surname can be found as Ship or Shipp. One Jefferie Ship was an early emigrant to the New World colonies, leaving London on the "Expedition" in November 1635, bound for the Barbadoes. London Church Registers record the marriage of John Ship and Alce Howard at Allhallows, London Wall, on February 4th 1637, and the christening of Richard, son of Richard and Scissley Ship, on December 7th 1642 at St. Andrew's, Holborn. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger del Schipp, which was dated 1288, witness in the "Cheshire Assize Rolls", 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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