Biscoe History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

Biscoe is a name of Anglo-Saxon origin. It was a name given to a person who portrayed a bishop in a medieval play, a person with an ecclesiastical bearing, or one who had been elected as a boy-bishop for the festival of St. Nicholas' Day. [1] [2]

Early Origins of the Biscoe family

The surname Biscoe was first found in an area "confined south of a line drawn from the Wash to the Dee. It is at present most numerous in the western half of this area, the county of Dorset containing the greatest number." [3]

Biscop was listed in Northumberland in the Domesday Book and later, Bissop was listed in the Pipe Rolls of Norfolk in 1195. [2]

The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 listed a wide variety of early spellings found throughout this area: John le Bissup, Oxfordshire; William Bisscop, Norfolk; Henry Biscop, Lincolnshire; Elvena, relicta Peter Bissop, Cambridgeshire; and Alice Bissop, Oxfordshire. [1]

Later, Bissop atte Combe was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Somerset in 1327 and the Pipe Rolls listed Lefwinus Bissop in Northumberland in 1166. [2]

Further to the north in Scotland, the first record of the family was in 1291 when "a receipt was granted to William called 'Bissope' on behalf of Sir Dovenald, Earl of Mar." [4]

The Biscoe variant was principally found in Yorkshire where William Birscowe and Robert Biscowe were listed in 1463. [2]

Early History of the Biscoe family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Biscoe research. Another 182 words (13 lines of text) covering the years 1400, 1426, 1551, 1610, 1624, 1627, 1628, 1676, 1684, 1786, 1855, 1554, 1624, 1601, 1554, 1612, 1675, 1661, 1611, 1691, 1665, 1737, 1682, 1692, 1625, 1691, 1634, 1681, 1683, 1632, 1692, 1692, 1660, 1687 and 1679 are included under the topic Early Biscoe History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Biscoe Spelling Variations

Before the last few hundred years, the English language had no fast system of spelling rules. For that reason, spelling variations are commonly found in early Anglo-Saxon surnames. Over the years, many variations of the name Biscoe were recorded, including Bishop, Bisshop, Bisshope, Bishope, Bishoppe, Bischoppe and many more.

Early Notables of the Biscoe family (pre 1700)

Notables of the family at this time include William Bishop (1554-1624), Bishop of Chalcedon, the son of John Bishop, who died in 1601 at the age of ninety-two; he was born of a 'genteel family' at Brailes in Warwickshire in or about 1554. [5] Humphrey Bishop (c. 1612-1675), was an English landowner and politician who sat in the House of Commons from 1661; and Henry Bishopp (Bishop, Bisshopp), (1611-1691), was Postmaster General of England from Henfield, Sussex. John Bishop (1665-1737), was an English musical composer, and educated under Daniel Roseingrave, but, as the latter was organist of Winchester Cathedral from June 1682...
Another 112 words (8 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Biscoe Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Biscoe Ranking

In the United States, the name Biscoe is the 16,249th most popular surname with an estimated 2,487 people with that name. [6]

Ireland Migration of the Biscoe family to Ireland

Some of the Biscoe family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. More information about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.


United States Biscoe migration to the United States +

To escape oppression and starvation at that time, many English families left for the "open frontiers" of the New World with all its perceived opportunities. In droves people migrated to the many British colonies, those in North America in particular, paying high rates for passages in cramped, unsafe ships. Although many of the settlers did not make the long passage alive, those who did see the shores of North America perceived great opportunities before them. Many of the families that came from England went on to make essential contributions to the emerging nations of Canada and the United States. Research into various historical records revealed some of first members of the Biscoe family emigrate to North America:

Biscoe Settlers in United States in the 17th Century
  • Nathaniel Biscoe, who arrived in Watertown, Massachusetts in 1642 [7]
  • Mathew Biscoe, who landed in Virginia in 1643 [7]

Contemporary Notables of the name Biscoe (post 1700) +

  • Maurice B. Biscoe (b. 1953), American architect from New York City
  • Donna Biscoe (b. 1955), American actress from Fort Benning, Georgia, known for her work on In the Heat of the Night
  • John Biscoe (1794-1843), English mariner and explorer who commanded the first expedition known to have sighted the areas named Enderby Land and Graham Land, Antarctica
  • Chris Biscoe (b. 1947), English jazz multi-instrumentalist from Pensford, Somerset
  • Bert Biscoe, Cornish politician and bard of the Cornish Gorseth
  • Patsy Biscoe AM (b. 1946), Australian children's television personality, singer and guitarist
  • Charles Biscoe (1875-1948), British Olympic fencer at the 1924 Games


The Biscoe Motto +

The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Pro Deo et ecclesia
Motto Translation: For God and the Church.


  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)
  2. ^ Reaney, P.H and R.M. Wilson, A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X)
  3. ^ Guppy, Henry Brougham, Homes of Family Names in Great Britain. 1890. Print.
  4. ^ Black, George F., The Surnames of Scotland Their Origin, Meaning and History. New York: New York Public Library, 1946. Print. (ISBN 0-87104-172-3)
  5. ^ Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  6. ^ https://namecensus.com/most_common_surnames.htm
  7. ^ Filby, P. William, Meyer, Mary K., Passenger and immigration lists index : a guide to published arrival records of about 500,000 passengers who came to the United States and Canada in the seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth centuries. 1982-1985 Cumulated Supplements in Four Volumes Detroit, Mich. : Gale Research Co., 1985, Print (ISBN 0-8103-1795-8)


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