The surname of SKIPPER was an occupational name 'the skipper' a captain of a ship. Occupational surnames originally denoted the actual occupation followed by the individual. At what period they became hereditary is a difficult problem. Many of the occupation names were descriptive and could be varied. In the Middle Ages, at least among the Christian population, people did not usually pursue specialized occupations exclusively to the extent that we do today, and they would, in fact, turn their hand to any form of work that needed to be done, particularly in a large house or mansion, or on farms and smallholdings. In early documents, surnames often refer to the actual holder of an office, whether the church or state. Early records of the name mention Herman le Skippere, documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Edward Skipper of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Skipper and Anne Cornwell were married at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in the year 1646. John Skipper and Elizabeth Kelke were married at St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1657. James Skipper of Norwich was listed in the Wills at Chester in the year 1738. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings. The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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