This ancient and interesting surname is English, but of French origins. It was first recorded in the 12th century as a baptismal name when Rogerus fillius Mabilie appears in the pipe rolls of Northamptonshire for the year 1130, in the reign of the first Henry. This is an important recording as it definitely establishes that the modern surname recorded as Maberley, Mably, and Mabley is not residential, i.e. it does not derive from some place, called Mabley or similar. As far as we have been able to research, there never was any such village or site. In fact the name is a derivation of the popular medieval 'Amabel', a baptismal name introduced by the Normans after the 1066 Invasion, and one which sparked many nickname or shortened spellings including Mabb, Mabbs, Mabbott, Mabson etc., and curiously 'Annabel', although several centuries later. The early recordings include such as examples Mabillia, in the 1150 Danelaw Rolls of Lincoln, and the same spelling, unusual in itself, in the 1221 Assize Rolls for Gloucester. The first nameholder as shown below was apparently a 'Crusader' home from the wars in the Holy Land, although John Mabile of Essex and John Mably of Cambridge both appear in the 1279 Hundred Rolls as tenant farmers. The coat of arms is quartered silver and red, in the first and fourth a red martlet, suggesting that the arms were carried by a person who lived by the sword, having no lands. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Arnaldus Mabilie, which was dated 1185, in the Knight Templar (Crusader) rolls for the county of Essex, during the reign of King Henry 11, known as 'The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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