The surname of POPE was a nickname for one with 'an austere ascetic and ecclesiastical appearance' one with the characteristics of a pope. Also the name given to someone who had played the part of the pope in a pageant or play. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. Early records of the name mention Alan le Pope, 1273 County Oxford. Hugh le Pope, was documented in 1273 in the County of Suffolk. Rogert le Pope, was recorded in County Somerset in the year 1327. Agnes le Pope was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax in the year 1379. The small villages of Europe, or royal and noble households, even large religious dwellings and monasteries, gave rise to many family names, which reflected the occupation or profession of the original bearer of the name. Following the Crusades in Europe in the 11th 12th and 13th centuries a need was felt for an additional name. This was recognized by those of gentle birth, who realised that it added prestige and practical advantage to their status. 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 draped and flowing garment worn over the armour. In the early Christian church the Latin term Pope, was at first used as a title of respect for male clergy of every rank, but in the western church it gradually came to be restricted to Bishop's and then only to the Bishop of Rome; in the eastern church it continued to be used of all priests.
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