The associated coat of arms for this name are recorded in J.B Rietstaps Armorial General. Illustrated by V & H.V Rolland's. This Monumental work took 23 years to complete and 85,000 coats of Arms are included in this work. This surname of OPIE is a Cornish name, from the medieval given name OPPY, a diminutive of Osborn or Osbald, favourite font names in England during the 12th and 13th centuries. Early records of the name include Harrie OPIE, who was buried at St. Columb Major, Cornwall, in the year 1590, and John OPIE and Sarah Burrows were married at St. George's Chapel, Mayfair, London in the year 1749. Cornish naming practices are unfortunately poorly documented for the Middle Ages, but present day Cornish surnames, somewhat surprisingly, do not follow the predominantly patronymic pattern of the other Celtic languages, including Welsh. This may be attributed to the greater influence of the English bureaucracy and English naming practices in Cornwall than in Wales at the time when surnames came into use. The majority of Cornish names are habitation names and others are derived from medieval given names. A notable member of the name was John OPIE (1716-1807) the portraitist and historical painter, born in St. Agnes, Cornwall. His portraits interested his teacher, by whom he was taken to London in 1789 to become the 'Cornish Wonder'. He became renowned as a portraitist of contemporary figures, and also painted historical pictures like the well-known 'Murder of Rizzio' (1787). He became professor of painting at the Royal Academy in 1805. It was not until the 10th century that modern hereditary surnames first developed, and the use of fixed names spread, first to France, and then England, then to Germany and all of Europe. In these parts of Europe, the individual man was becoming more important, commerce was increasing and the exact identification of each man was becoming a necessity. Even today however, the Church does not recognise surnames. Baptisms and marriages are performed through use of the Christian name alone. Thus hereditary names as we know them today developed gradually during the 11th to the 15th century in the various European countries.
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