Biscow History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The ancient Anglo-Saxon culture of England produced the name of Biscow. It was 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 Biscow family

The surname Biscow 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 Biscow family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Biscow 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 Biscow History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Biscow Spelling Variations

One relatively recent invention that did much to standardize English spelling was the printing press. However, before its invention even the most literate people recorded their names according to sound rather than spelling. The spelling variations under which the name Biscow has appeared include Bishop, Bisshop, Bisshope, Bishope, Bishoppe, Bischoppe and many more.

Early Notables of the Biscow 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 Biscow Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Biscow family to Ireland

Some of the Biscow 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.

Migration of the Biscow family

At this time, the shores of the New World beckoned many English families that felt that the social climate in England was oppressive and lacked opportunity for change. Thousands left England at great expense in ships that were overcrowded and full of disease. A great portion of these settlers never survived the journey and even a greater number arrived sick, starving, and without a penny. The survivors, however, were often greeted with greater opportunity than they could have experienced back home. These English settlers made significant contributions to those colonies that would eventually become the United States and Canada. An examination of early immigration records and passenger ship lists revealed that people bearing the name Biscow arrived in North America very early: Daniel Bishop who settled in Virginia in 1663; Henry Bishop settled in Maryland in 1633; Joseph Bishop in Virginia in 1644; Thomas Bishop settled in Barbados with his wife and servants in 1680.



The Biscow 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


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