Recorded in the spellings of Millberry, Milberry, Millbery and Mulbery or Mullbery, this interesting surname has at least two possible origins. It is probably Norman French, from the village of Montbrai in Normany, and if so was first introduced by close companions of William the Conqueror at the invasion of 1066. These people were rewarded for their efforts with land grants, particularly in the east and north of England. As Montbrai the name translates as 'the muddy place on the hill', a humble beginning for an aristocratic surname. Early examples of the recordings include Roger de Mulbrai in the 1130 Rolls of Whitby, Yorkshire, where the family held great estates, and Paganus de Moubrai of Oxfordshire in the year 1150. The second possible origin is that this surname is a form of Milborrow or Millborough. This curiously is not a place name, but a pre 7th century baptismal name meaning "mild fortress". The first "Mildburh" was a daughter of a king of Merica and an abbess! An early surname example being that of Walter Milburegh, recorded in Oxford in 1275. Examples of later church recordings include Margret Mylbrie, at St Katherines by the Tower (of London), on April 29th 1594, and about a century later at the same church, Gilbert Millbery, who married Wilmot Bedford, on January 13th 1680. The first recording of the name is believed to be that of Rodbeard a Mundbraeg, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles for East Anglia, and dated 1087. This was during the reign of King William 1st, known as 'The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087.
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