This is a famous Yorkshire and Lancashire surname of medieval origins. It derives from the famous French female baptismal name 'Isabella', and specifically 'Isabella of Angouleme', wife of King John (1199 - 1216). 'John' has persistently had a bad press in England, but it seems that both his wife and daughter, also called 'Isabella', who married King Frederick 11 of France, were venerated. Certainly the daughter was known as 'the hope of England', although quite why when she was married in France, is not easy to see.What is beyond argument is that one of the main 'sports' of the medieval period was the development of nicknames,and this is a good example. The earliest form was as 'Bibb' with 'Bibby' being the diminutive. In the this case early examples of the recordings include William Bibbi in the 1228 rolls of the county of Stafford, Robert Bybby in the city rolls of Wakefield, Yorkshire, in 1284 and Henricus Bibbe in the 1397 Poll Tax rolls of Yorkshire in 1397. Later examples are those of Richard Le Fiz Bibby of Openshaw, Lancashire in 1597, and Thomas Bibbie of Pemberton, Lancashire in 1607. Slightly earlier in 1603, and a rare recording out of the county at this time, Susan, their daughter of Adam Bibye was buried at St Mary Aldermary, London in 1603. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Bibbe, which was dated 1196, in the pipe rolls of the county of Shropshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st, 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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