This surname is of French, Dutch, Flemish and Danish/Norwegian origin; from the Greek name PHILLIPPOS (a lover of horses). The name was borne by apostles, as well as by other various early saints. Unusually for a common Christian name, it seems to owe its popularity more to the medieval romances about Alexander the Great, whose father was Philip of Macedon, than to any saint. The surname is also occasionally borne by Jews, in which case it represents an adoption of a non-Jewish surname or an Anglicization of some like-sounding Jewish surname.
Early records of the name mention Filippus de Crochesbi, 1142 in Wales. Phillippa de Faia, was documented in 1195, in the County of Sussex. Simon filius Phillipi was recorded in 1273, in the County of Kent. Cecilia Phillip of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Hugh Fisher married Elizabeth Philipson, in London in the year of 1617. An eminent member of the name was John Phillips (1676-1709) the English poet born in Bampton, Oxfordshire. He was the son of the archdeacon of Shropshire, and was educated at Winchester and Christ College, Oxford. He wrote three very popular poems, 'The Splendid Shilling' (1701) 'Blenheim' (1705) a Tory celebration of Marlborough's great victory, and 'Cyder' (1708). He has a monument in Westminster Abbey. At first the coat of arms was a practical matter which served a function on the battlefield, and in tournaments. With his helmet covering his face, and armour encasing the knight from head to foot, the only means of identification for his followers, was the insignia painted on his shield and embroidered on his surcoat, the flowing and draped garment worn over the armour. Most of the European surnames in countries such as England, Scotland and France were formed in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. The process had started somewhat earlier and had continued in some places into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the tenth and eleventh centuries people did not have surnames, whereas by the fifteenth century most of the population had acquired a second name.
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