This interesting surname with variant spellings Crab, Crabb, Crabbe, Krabbe, etc., of English and Scottish origin, is either a topographical name for someone who lived by a crab tree, or a nickname for someone whose gait or mode of movement bore a fancied resemblance to the crab, deriving from the Middle English "crabbe", Old English pre 7th Century "crabba" meaning "crab". As a Scottish surname Crabb is probably of Flemish origin. Edward 11 of England complained to the court of Flanders about the activities of the Engineer John Crabbe in designing engines for the Scots at the siege of Berwick in 1319, and received the reply that he had already been banished for murder. King Robert 1st of Scotland made him large grants of land, and his family were prominent in the affairs of Aberdeen during the succeeding Centuries. The surname dates back to the late 12th Century, (see below). Church recordings include Maria, daughter of Johnis Crabe who was christened on January 31st 1557 at St. Andres's, Enfield, London, Alice Crabb married William Allard on January 14th 1563 at St. Nicholas Acons, London, and Christian Crab married William Hamilton on February 13th 1629 in Edinburgh, Scotland. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Crabbe, which was dated 1188 the Pipe Rolls of Dorset, during the reign of King Henry 11, the Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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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