This popular Devon locational name is a letter transposition and derives from the former hamlet of Collibear in the parish of Tawstock, near Barnstaple in Devon. There are no less than eleven modern alternative spellings of the name which originally in Olde English pre 10th Century meant (Ni) Cols - place or farm, for the Green Nicolas. A 'Coney' was the French for Rabbit, and the Rabbit was a French introduction after 1066, some, two hundred years later than the original village name. The transposition of 'L' to 'N' is common in the Devon dialect. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Conybeare. which was dated 1690, Married Grace Willcochs in London. during the reign of King William III of England and Orange, 1689 - 1704. 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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