This interesting surname recorded as Holby, Holbee, Holbie, Halby, Holdbey, Houlbey and possibly Alby and Olbey, is an English surname. It is locational and probably from a now 'lost' medieval place probably in East Anglia and possibly in the county of Lincolnshire. It would seem to derive from the Danish-Viking word '-bi' meaning a farm or settlement and the Olde English 'hoh' meaning a hollow or rounded valley. However It is also possible that the prefix was originally 'holdr. This was a Danish word of status and rank akin to a knight or baron, and therefore this name may have described the settlement or farm of the chief or elder of that particular area. 'Lost' villages and settlements are a feature of the British Isles, and it is estimated that at least five thousand have disappeared since medieval times, leaving as their only memory the surname itself. In this case the surname is recorded in the city of London since early Stuart times. A good example is that of Richard Holbye, who was a christening witness to his daughter Mary at the church of St Stephen Walbrook, on January 23rd 1620.
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