This interesting and unusual surname is English, but with some Norse or Danish pre 8th century input. Recorded as Oxbie, Oxby, Oxbe, and possibly Oxtaby and Oxtiby, the name is clearly locational. However no such placename is recorded in any of the known surname spellings, or indeed anything much like it. This suggests that the name originates either from a now "lost" medieval site of which the only surviving memory is the surname itself, in all its varied spellings, or possibly as a transposed spelling of an existing place. If the latter then just possibly the Norfolk village of Oxborough is a candidate. The origination is probably the Olde English word "oxe" and the traditional Viking "bi", to give the meaning of "cattle farm". In the late medieval period, tenants were often driven off their lands to facilitate sheep farming, and these people took, or were given, as their surnames, the name of their former home. Spelling being at best rudimentary and local dialects very thick often lead to surnames taking on a "sounds like" appearance. Early examples of the name recording include Thomas Oxbe, at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, in the city of London, on October 15th 1580, and John Oxtiby and his wife Isable, witnesses at Lund near Beverley, East Yorkshire, on December 9th 1657. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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