Recorded as Dibnah and Dibner, this is a surname made famous by the exploits on television of steeplejack Fred Dibnah. As a surname it is actually quite rare. It is certainly English and locational, that is to say that the surname derives from a place name. In the public eye the name is associated with the county of Lancashire, but in fact the epicentre of the name is in East Yorkshire. However although the name is widely recorded in this area, it is almost certainly a derivation of something else. It does not seem to appear in the church registers before the mid 18th century, which is several centuries too late for an English surname. This suggests that either it originates from somewhere else completely, or it is from a now 'lost' village, of which the only reminder in the 20th century is the surname itself. Some five thousand British surnames are estimated to derive from 'lost' villages, so this is quite a possibility, particularly as no existing place name has a spelling anywhere near it. The make up of the surname would suggest that it means something like 'deep valley' or simlar such as the village of Dibden in the county of Hampshire, about as far away as it possible to be. Early examples of the surname recording include Francis Dibnah of Brandesburton in East Yorkshire, on November 17th 1777, and Rachel Dibnah, the daughter of John Dibnah, christened at Patrington, also in east Yorkshire, on December 11th 1814.
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