This interesting and ancient surname is of early medieval English and Old French origin, and is a patronymic from the name Cousin; Cousin being a nickname, deriving from the Middle English, Old French "co(u)sin", "cusin", which in the Middle Ages, as in Shakespearean English, had the general meaning "relative", "kinsman". The surname would have thus denoted a person related in some way to a prominent figure in the neighbourhood. In some cases it may also have been a nickname for someone who used the term "cousin" frequently as a term of address. The old slang word "cozen", cheat, perhaps derives from the medieval confidence trickster's use of the word "cousin" as a term of address to invoke a spurious familiarity. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 10th Century (see below) and has many variant spellings ranging from Cozens, Cozins, Cossins and Cuzons to Cussons and Cosyns. Sumerda Cusin is noted in the 1166 Pipe Rolls of Norfolk and Agnes Cousseyns is listed in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Suffolk. Recordings of the surname from London Church Registers include; Elizabeth, daughter of Henry and Jane Couzens, who was christened on September 21st 1690, at St. Andrew's, Holborn; Richard, son of Robert and Joyce Couzens, who was christened on May 7th 1697 at St. Giles', Cripplegate; and Daniel Couzens, who married Sarah Mileham on November 14th 1769 at St. Leonard Shoreditch. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is an ermine shield charged with a chevron per pale red and gold, the Crest being a gold demi lion rampant guttee de sang. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Aethelstano Chusin, which was dated 977 A.D., in the "Book of Ely", during the reign of King Edward, known as "The Martyr", 975 - 979. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.