This most interesting and unusual surname is of English 12th century origins. Recorded in the spellings of Abs, Abbs, Abbiss, Abbys, Abbson and Abbison, all are patronymic forms of "Abel". This ancient name derives from the Hebrew given name "Hevel", meaning 'vigour', and as such was borne by the son of Adam, who was murdered by his brother Cain. It is claimed that the name has a French origin, and early records do show both D'Abernoun and D'Abbetot, names which may well have transposed to 'Abson'. However the name may also be of 'Crusader' origins, and as such given to a male child in memory of his fathers 'visit' to the Holy Land. The name is first recorded in Yorkshire, the first named (below) having a tenement, one ox-gang and six acres, at Stanley village near Wakefield, whilst Wilelmus Abson is recorded in the 1379 Poll Tax rolls for the same area. Later recordings from English church registers include the marriage of Elizabeth Abson and Richard Piggot in 1568, at Bainbrough, Yorkshire, the seemingly 'Welsh' marriage of Meredith Abson and Margaret Apredeth on February 11th 1589, at St. Margaret's, Westminster, London, and the christening of Thomas, son of Thomas and Sarah Abson, at St. Mary Whitechapel, Stepney, on September 1st 1695. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name has the blazon of on a red field a fess lozengy in black between three white escallops the latter being the sign of the pilgrims travelling to the Holy Lands. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Abson, which was dated 1300, in the registers of Wakefield Cathedral, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Edward 1st , known as 'The hammer of the Scots' 1272 -1307. 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.
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