There are a number of English surnames which commence with the prefix "Hob", a medieval nickname form of Robert. These include Hobday or Hobdey, which translate as "The servant of Hob", with "day" deriving from the Olde English pre 7th century word daege, meaning a kneader of bread, and later a female domestic servant or dairy maid, and Hobden or Hobgen. These forms may be transposed spellings of Hobday or Hobdey, or alternatively they may be locational from a now "lost" medieval hamlet, believed to have been in the county of Sussex. Some three thousand British Isles surnames are known to have originated from now lost villages, and there seems no reason why this name should not be another one to add to the list. The name spelling suggests that it means "Hob's valley" from the Olde English word "denu", but this is not proven. Early examples of the surname recording include Sarah Hobden who married William Toombs at St Nicholas church, Cole Abbey, in the city of London, on April 15th 1569, whilst William Armfield Hobday (1771-1831) was a prominent portrait painter who exhibited for many years at the Royal Academy. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of William Hobday. This was dated 1469, in the Pipe Rolls of West Kent during the reign of King Edward IV of England, 1461-1483. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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