Recorded in a wide variety of spellings including Niblo, Nibloe, Niblow, Nibley, Knoblay, and Knubley, this is an English locational surname. It originates from a place called Nibley in the county of Gloucestershire. This village is first recorded in the year 940 a.d. in the spelling of 'Hnibban lege', and some three centuries later in the more modern spelling of 'Nubbelieia'. These recording suggest that the name means 'the farm (leah) at the nib', the latter word indicating a hill. There are in fact three villages called Nibley in England, but it is generally accepted that the Gloucester one has produced most, if not all, the surnames. Locational surnames are generally 'from' names. That is to say that they were given to people by their new neighbours, after they moved from their original village, usually under the pressure of finding work. These moves by their very nature also created the variant spellings at a time when education was very limited. Then local dialects even village to village, were very thick, and spelling, erratic at best. Early examples of the name recording include John Nibley at Westbury upon Severn, Gloucestershire, on April 18th 1575, William Niblot of Standish, also Gloucestershire, on February 19th 1683, and in London, Thomas Knoblay, who married Judith Brough at St James church, Dukes Place, on June 30th 1685.
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