Recorded as Attenbarrow, Attenborow, Attenborough, Attenburrow and Atterbury, this is an English surname. It is locational either from the village of Attenborough, a parish in the county of Nottinghamshire, or from the town of Attleburgh in the county of Norfolk. The derivation is from the Olde English "atten", meaning "at the", with the pre 7th Century word "burg or burh", meaning a fortified manor house. Locational surnames were usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. In so doing they took or were given, as their surname, the name of their former home. Spelling being at best erratic and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of "sounds like" and in this case, overlapping spellings. Early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving rolls and charters of the Medieval Period include Margaret de Atteburwe in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in 1273, and John Atte-bury in the Writs of Parliament for the year 1306. Recordings of the surname from English church registers include: the marriage of Lawrance Atterbury and Elizabeth Poynter at Canterbury Cathedral of May 1st 1661, that of James Attenborough and Sarah Hichcock, who were married on October 19th 1718, at St. Dunstan's in the East, Stepney, London; and the christening of William, the son of Jonathan and Margaret Attenborough, on May 2nd 1730, at Long Bennington, Lincolnshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is that of Walter Attebure. This was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of Kent. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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