This interesting and unusual name is of medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of a locational name 'Heberden', from a so called 'lost' village once found in Madehurst, Sussex, and last recorded in 1785. It is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such villages that have vanished from the British maps, usually as a result of enforced land clearance, to make way for sheep pastures, but also because of more natural causes, such as plague or war. The derivation of this placename is from the Old English pre 7th Century 'heope', meaning a hip of a dog rose, with 'dew', a valley, thus a valley where dog roses grew in profusion.An 18th Century 'sixain' on three famous London doctors ran. 'You should send, if aught should ail ye, for Willis, Heberden, or Baillie; All exceeding skilful men, Baillie, Willis, Heberden; uncertain which most sure to kill is Baillie, Heberden, or Willis'. One, Ellin Hibberdine was christened on March 9th 1589 at St. Mary Somerset, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Iburgedenn, which was dated in the Assize Rolls, Sussex, 1279, during the reign of King Edward 1, known as the Hammer of the Scots, 1272 - 1307. 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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