This interesting surname has two possible origins. Firstly, it may derive from the Middle English, Old French "gab" meaning mockery or deceit and would have originated as a nickname for a "deceiver". It may also have originated from the male personal name Gabriel (female given name Gabrielle), meaning "man of God". According to St. Luke's Gospel, the Angel Gabriel was the devine messenger who announced to Zacharias the birth of his, son John the Baptist, and to Mary the birth of Jesus. Gabriel is recorded in England during the middle ages, and occasionally since the 16th Century. The best-known English bearer is a character of fiction; Gabriel Vardon, the kind-hearted locksmith in Dicken's "Barnaby Rudge". Gabe, Gabby, Gabey and Gabay are all short versions. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century, (see below). One, Walter Gabbe, appears in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire (1275). On May 4th 1632, Cicely Gabb married William Clarke, at St. Dunstan's, Stepney, London, and the christening of Sarah, daughter of William Gabb, took place on August 2nd 1640, at the same place. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Gabber, which was dated 1230, in the "Pipe Rolls of Devonshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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