Origin, Meaning and Family History of the Bishop Name
Origins of Name:
The Bishop surname has Latin origins stemming from the Greek word ‘episkopos’ which means overseer. The Old English word ‘biscop’ meaning bishop is a derivation from episkopos. Since the 4th Century, early Christianity would make use of this word, bishop was given as a title to someone who was an overseer of the local Christian community. This title would eventually loan itself to almost all of Europe. France using évêque, Spanish obispo , Italian vescovo,, German Bischof, Russian yepiskop, , and more, all of which translates to Bishop. However, it must be noted that the surname did not refer to an actual bishop.
The first instance of it being used as a surname is an occupational one as well as one used to describe someone. A person who worked in the house of a bishop assumed the surname, a person who resembled a bishop in appearance bore the surname, and it was also used as a nickname for someone who acted in theatre productions and played the part of a bishop. A very common custom in the Middle Ages in England consisted of a boy being chosen to parody a real bishop. The boy bishop was elected on December 6 during the feast of Saint Nicholas, the patron saint of children. This activity could also be a possible source source for someone with the surname.
More common variations are:
Bishopp, Bishope, Bischop, Bishopi, Bishiop, Bishoop, Bishoup, Bishopw, Bishoip, Bishp
The first recorded instance of the surname Bishop is Lefwinus Bissop recorded in the Pipe Rolls in 1166 of Nottingham, England. Thurstan le Byssop was recorded in Essex county in 1240.
Bishop is the 270th most common surname in Great Britain. The highest concentrations are in Leeds, Isle of Wight, Lincolnshire, Cheshire, and Shropshire.
Berchtoldus Episcopus was recorded in Oberweiler, Germany in 1296. Haintz der Pischoffer was recorded in Tiefenbach, Germany in 1396.
130,000 in the United States
28,000 in England
17,000 in Nigeria
11,000 in Canada
11,000 in Australia
7,000 in South Africa
Arthur Ernest Bishop (1917). Australian inventor
Bernice Pauahi Bishop (1831), Princess of the Kamehameha dynasty
Bridget Bishop (1632), the first woman ever sentenced to death and killed for witchcraft in 1692 during the Salem witchcraft trials
Charles Reed Bishop (1822), American businessman
Elizabeth Bishop (1911), American writer and poet
Henry Bishop (1611), English postmaster general
Henry Rowley Bishop (1786), English musical composer
Katharine Bishop (1889), co-discoveror of Vitamin E
Max Bishop (1889), American baseball player
Morris Bishop (1893), American scholar
Richard M. Bishop (1812), American politician
Sherman C. Bishop (1887), American herpetologist and arachnologist
Bishop Coat of Arms Meaning
The three main devices (symbols) in the Bishop blazon are the bend, bezant and lozenge. The three main tinctures (colors) are gules, or and argent .
Gules, the heraldic colour red is very popular, sometimes said to represent “Military Fortitude and Magnanimity”. It is usually abbreviated as gu and in the days before colour printing was shown in a system known as hatching by vertical lines . Although it may look like a French word it is normally pronounced with a hard “g” and may be derived either from the Latin gula (throat) or Arabic gule (rose).
Or is the heraldic metal Gold, often shown as a bold, bright yellow colour. It is said to show “Generosity and elevation of the mind” . Later heralds, of a more poetic nature liked to refer to it as Topaz, after the gemstone, and, for obvious reasons associated it with the Sun . In drawings without colour it is usually represented by many small dots, or by the letter ‘O’ .
Argent is the heraldic metal Silver and is usually shown as very pure white. It is also known more poetically as pearl, moon (or luna) . In a sketch or drawing it is represented by plain, unmarked paper .
The bend is a distinctive part of the shield, frequently occuring and clearly visible from a distance – it is a broad band running from top left to bottom right . Indeed, so important is the bend that it was the subject of one of the earliest cases before the English Court of Chivalry; the famous case of 1390, Scrope vs Grosvenor had to decide which family were the rightful owners of Azure, a bend or (A blue shield, with yellow bend). . The bend is held in high honour and may signify “defence or protection” and often borne by those of high military rank .
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the bezant Is a typical example of this, and in British Heraldry always takes the tincture or. It shares the same root as the name Byzantium, being associated with the gold coin of that city and indeed, in some heraldic traditions is represented as a coin-like disk in perspective. Wade suggests that the use of this device refers to ” one who had been found worthy of trust and treasure.”
For easy recognition of the items on a coat of arms, and hence the quick identification of the owner, bold simple shapes are best. Hence, simple geometric shapes are often used for this purpose xz`, and the lozenge Is a typical example of this, and can appear in any of the main heraldic tinctures. It can appear on its own, voided (with the background visible through the middle), and can also be conjoined, whereby adjacent lozenges touch point-to-point. Guillim groups the lozenge with all square shapes as being symbolic of “verity, probity, constancy and equity”.