This interesting name is of Old Scandinavian origin, and has two possible meanings. Firstly, it may be an ancient regional name from the "hundred" of West Derby in Lancashire, which was often referred to in the Middle Ages as "Derbyshire", from the name of the town, with the Old English pre 7th Century "scir", shire, district, administrative region, in Middle English "schire". Secondly, the surname found as Derbyshire, Darbyshire and Darbishire, may be a regional name from the county of Derbyshire, centred on the city of Derby. The placename "Derby" is derived from the Old Scandinavian "diurby" or "diuraby", farm or homestead with a deer-park, or where deer lived. West Derby in Lancashire is recorded as "Derbi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, where the county name is also recorded as "Derbyscire". The marriage of William Darbyshire and Jane Coghill was recorded at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London, on February 19th 1625. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Geoffrey de Derbesire (witness), which was dated 1203, in the "Staffordshire Assize Rolls", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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