This interesting surname, with variant spellings Applebe, Applebee, Applebey, and Appelbee is of Norse-Viking origin, and is a locational name from any of the various places named with the Old Norse "apall" meaning apple, plus the Old Norse "-byr", a farm or settlement. These places include Appleby in Leicestershire, recorded as "Aplebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086; Appleby in Lincolnshire, appearing as "Aplebi" in the Domesday Book, and as "Appelbi" in the 1167 Pipe Rolls of that county, and Appleby in Westmoreland. The surname is first recorded in the latter part of the 12th Century (see below). Several early namebearers were notable ecclesiastics, including John de Appleby, Vicar of Tilney, Norfolk, in 1372, and Thomas de Appleby, Bishop of Carlisle, in 1377. On May 28th 1635, William Appleby, aged 32 yrs., embarked from London on the ship "Speedwell" bound for Virginia; he was one of the earliest recorded namebearers to settle in the New World. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts six gold martlets on a blue shield. A golden apple, with green leaves and stalk, is on the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Vlf de Appelbi, which was dated 1163, in the "Pipe Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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