This long-established surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from any of a number of places in England called Combe, so called from the Middle English "combe", itself deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cumb" meaning "a short straight valley". The name was originally given to those in residence in a small valley, and is first recorded in the late 12th Century (see below). Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. In the modern idiom the name has five spelling variations: Coombe, Coombs and Coombes (chiefly found in the West of England), with Combe (the usual Scottish form), and also Coom. The "es" ending in Coombes comes from the Olde English genitive case. Recordings from London Church Registers include: the marriage of Amey Coombes and Jacob Scorryer at St. James', Clerkenwell, on July 22nd 1604, and the marriage of John Coombes and Margret Simons on December 11th 1701, at St. Martin in the Fields, Westminster. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard de la Cumbe, which was dated 1194, in the "Fine Court Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "Richard 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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