Recorded as Godber, Godbehere, Godbert, Godbert, Gobbert, Gobbet, and others, this unusual surname is English. It was one of the ancient names of the 'Dark Ages' which originate from the pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon and Old German name Godebert, meaning literally 'Bright god'. Although recorded in England before the Norman French Conquest of 1066 it was for a century or so after that event, that it was at its most popular. Later these early almost pagan names were superceeded by the Christian names which flooded into Europe after the Crusades to the Holy Land in the 12th century, when all names with biblical associations became the fashion. An early example of this 'name' as Godbryt is recorded in the register of Exeter Cathedral in the reign of King Canute (1016 - 1035). The later surname development includes: William Godebrich of Essex in 1262, Gilbert Godebrith of Suffolk in 1327, and John Godber of Staffordshire in 1365. The first recorded spelling of the surname is probably that of Roger Godbert, which was dated 1200, in the Pipe Rolls of Nottinghamshire, during the reign of King John, known to history by the nickname of 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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