The phenomenon of variant spellings affecting this surname isn’t just an American issue. It surfaces in the British Isles as well.
The National Archives at Kew holds a London-area chancery court record from 1746 from a case known as Atkins v. Philp. The plaintiff was Thomas Atkins of St. George the Martyr in Middlesex. The defendants were William Philp, Sparks Philp, and John Street, gent.
Sparks Philp is identified as “alias John Phips alias Sparks Phips his [evidently William’s] son, infant (by his father).”
Then an earlier record is the will of Arden Phips, also referred to as Phippes, dated 26 September 1639. This record is also at Kew. Arden Phips or Phippes was a gentleman of Long Itchington in Warwickshire. This is a village and civil parish in the Stratford-on-Avon district, and is called by locals “Long Itch.”
The National Archives at Kew also holds the will of a certain William Phillipps. This Phillipps was also known as Phips, and his will is dated 26 June 1695. He was a mariner (hardly surprising) of Slapton in Devon, described as “now belonging unto Their Majesty’s Ship Advice.” Slapton is a village and civil parish in the South Hams district.
Another will at Kew, dated 26 July 1726, is that of William Phipps. He is described as a brazier from New Windsor in Berkshire, and was also known as William Fliepes. What is now called Windsor used to be called New Windsor, as opposed to Old Windsor, which is about two miles away. This is the site of Windsor Castle, and is about roughly 20 miles east of Reading, the city associated with various other Phipps records.
The spelling “Phips” also appears in a number of British records, and one also runs across such spellings as “Phip.” Of course, other spellings can be found, such as “Phyps,” and one has to wonder about such names as Phipping and Phippings.