The surname of BISHOP was derived from the Old English word BISCOP - a nickname for one with the bearing of a bishop or a man of the cloth. The name was also given to one who played the part of a Bishop in a play or pageant. 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 Biscop (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in the Domesday Book of 1086. Bissop (without surname) was documented in Northumberland in the year 1195, and Algar se Bisceop was recorded in County Devon in the year 1198 and Thomas le Byscop was recorded in the year 1297 in the County of Essex. John le Bissup, was documented in the year 1273 in County Oxford. Peter Bissop of Yorkshire was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name include James Bishop of Warrington who was listed in the Wills at Chester in 1614. John Golling married Elizabeth Bishop, St. Michael, Cornhill, London in 1656. 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. The eagle depicted in the crest is emblematical of fortitude and magnanimity of mind. The Romans used the figure of an eagle for their ensign, and their example has been often followed. It is the device of Russia, Austria, Germany and the United States of America.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes
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