This long-established surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from the parish and village of Filby, north west of Yarmouth, in North Norfolk. Recorded as "Filebey" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Filebi" in the 1165 Feet of Fines for that county, the place was so called from the Old Norse and Old Danish personal name "Fili" (of uncertain origin), with "-byr", enclosure, settlement. Locational urnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Early examples of the surname include: Roger de Fileby (Norfolk, 1273); Adam de Phyleby (Wenlock, Shropshire, 1287); and Simon de Filby (London, 1310). In 1315, one Nicholas de Fyleby was rector of Burgh, Norfolk, and in 1325, Richard de Phileby was rector of Stokesby, Norfolk. The name has five spelling variations in the modern idiom: Filby, Filbee, Filbey, Philby and Philbey. On February 23rd 1586, James Filby and Alice Harvy were married in Bunwell, Norfolk. In the summer of 1981 a gathering of namebearers from all over the world assembled in the village of Filby, Norfolk, to celebrate in that place from whence their forebears sprung. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de filebi, which was dated 1202, witness in the "Feet of Fines of Norfolk", 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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