This unusual and interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name "Babba", of uncertain etymology, but perhaps a nursery name from a child's babbling; the name is found as an element in several placenames, including Babbacombe in Devon and Babington in Somerset. Another source says that the surname may be derived from the medieval female given name "Babb", a pet form of Barbara, from the Latin "barbarus", the Greek "barbaros", foreign(er), or a nickname meaning "baby". The surname was first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below), and early recordings include: Richard Babbe in the 1230 Pipe Rolls of Devonshire; Ralph le Babb in the 1199 Memoranda Roll of Wiltshire; and Walter le Babbe in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. The modern surname can be found recorded as Babe, Babb and Babbe. Recordings from London Church Registers include the marriages of William Babe and Catherine Tomsone on September 10th 1587 at Harrow on the Hill, and of Thomas Babe and Mary Curl on January 31st 1729 at Holborn. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alwinus Babbe, which was dated 1198, in the "Feet of Fines of Suffolk", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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