This unusual name is of Medieval English origin and is locational from a so called 'lost' village, likely to have been situated in Sussex, which is suggested by the fact that there are numerous recordings of this surname in that county. The derivation is thought to be from the Old English pre 7th Century personal name 'Lyrel', with 'beorg', meaning a hill, thus Lyrel's hill. The phenomenon of the 'lost' village was a result of enforced land clearance in the height of the wool trade (12th and 13th Centuries) to make way for sheep pasture, and it is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such places that have disappeared from British maps. Amongst the sample recordings in Sussex are the christenings of Bartholmew Larby on January 31st 1591 at Kirdford, and Sarah Larby on April 10th 1657 at Stopham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas Larbey (witness), which was dated January 17th 1584, Wisborough Green, Sussex, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, 'Good Queen Bess', 1558-1603. 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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