This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian origin, and is habitational from a minor place so called in Lincolnshire, derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "diche, dike", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "dic", dyke, earthwork, and the Old Norse "byr", farm, settlement; the medieval dyke was larger and more prominent than the modern ditch, and was usually constructed for urposes of defence rather than drainage. The placename was first recorded as "Dicbi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Diggebi" in the Pipe Rolls of 1197. The surname was first recorded in the mid 12th Century and early recordings include; Geoffrey de Dyggeby in the 1250 Feet of Fines of Lincolnshire; and Simon Digby in the 1497 Feet of Fines of Warwickshire. An interesting namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Sir Everard Digby (1578 - 1606), a Gunpowder Plot conspirator, who was converted to Catholicism at court by John Gerard in 1599, and knighted in 1603. He was detailed to incite a rising in the Midlands at the time of the Gunpowder Plot in 1605, but deserted his companions when besieged in Holbeach House, Staffordshire, on November 8th 1605, and was executed in 1606. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is azure a fleur-de-lis silver and a canton gold, the Crest being an ostrich silver holding in the beak a horseshoe proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Digby, which was dated circa 1160 - 1165, in the "Registrum Antiquissimum", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 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.1154 - 1189.
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