Sir Guy of Gisborne features widely in the stories and films of 'Robin Hood', but sadly like Robin himself, he seems to be something of a myth. This surname is most certainly of Olde English pre 10th century origins, and derives from the small town of Gisburn in North Yorkshire. First recorded in the rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1195, as 'Giselburn', this is an accurate description of Gisburn. The original spelling means 'rushing brook', from the words 'gisel burna', the town being sited on such a stream. In the early charters we do have Walter de Gisburn, (see below), a famous chronicler of the medieval period, renowned for his ecclesiastical writings. He does not however seem to have taken up 'knightly' deeds. The 'modern' surname is recorded as Gisburn and Gisburne, the traditional Yorkshire spellings, and Gisborne, Gisbourn and Gisbourne, which are generally recorded further south. Examples taken from the church recordings include William Gisburn, christened at Marske in Cleveland, the epi-centre of the name, on January 19th 1578, and John Gisborne, who married Emme Ashby at St. Botolphs Bishopgate, London, on January 29th 1600. Other recordings include John Gisborne, who married Elizabeth Roulston at St Mary Mounthaw, London, on August 29th 1620, and Robertus Gisbourn, christened at Marske in Cleveland, on July 27th 1684. The coat of arms was granted in Derbyshire in 1741, and has the blazon of Erminois, a black lion rampant, collared silver, on a green canton, a golden garb. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Gisburn, which was dated c1280 - 1350, who wrote the history of the Priory of St Mary's, Gisburn, during the reign of King Edward 111, known as 'The father of the Navy', 1327 - 1377. 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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