This interesting and unusual surname, found particularly well recorded in Norfolk, is a patronymic of Nobb, which is a medieval given name from a pet from of Robert. Robert itself is derived from a Germanic personal name, composed of the elements "hrod", renown, and "berht", bright, famous. The name was found occasionally in England before the Conquest of 1066, but in the main it was introduced into England by the Normans and quickly became popular among all classes of society. The names Dobb and Hobb were also formed from pet forms of Robert, and the expression to "hob-nob", which means to pledge a health by touching glasses, or to associate closely, is perhaps explained by the fact that both were recognised nicknames of the same name. An interesting namebearer was George Hunn Nobbs (1799 - 1884), a missionary and chaplain of Pitcairn island, who entered the navy in 1811 and joined the patriots of South America in 1816; they were captured by Spaniards in 1817. He made several voyages to Sierra Leone in 1823 and settled on Pitcairn island in 1818. He was ordained in 1852 and subsequently removed with the islanders to Norfolk island, where he died. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wido Nobbe, which was dated circa 1248, in the "Select Documents of the English Lands of the Abbey of Bec", Oxfordshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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