This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Skipwith in the East Riding of Yorkshire. The placename was recorded as "Schipewic" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Scipewiz" in the 1166 Pipe Rolls of the county; and as "Skipwith" in the 1291 Pipe Rolls, and derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "sceap, scip", sheep, and "wic", outlying settlement; hence, "settlement outside the village where sheep were kept". Locational surnames were given to the lord of the manor, and to those former inhabitants who left to live or work in another area, and in this way the spelling of the name often changed with varying regional pronunciations. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Skipwith, Scipwith, Skipworth, Scipworth and Skipwurth. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Robert Skipworth and Agnis Walker on May 6th 1564, at St. Lawrence Pountney; the christening of Edward, son of Henrie Skipworth, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, on June 13th 1580; and the marriage of Anne Skipworth and John Goate on November 1st 1585, at St. Christopher le Stocks. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three red bars, in chief a black greyhound courant, collared gold, on a silver shield, the Crest being a reel or turnstile proper. The Motto, "Sans Dieu je ne puis", translates as, "Without God I cannot do it". The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Skipwith, which was dated September 7th 1517, marriage to Joannis Skypwith, at South Ormsby, Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Good King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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