This interesting and unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from a place in the parish of Huddersfield, West Yorkshire, called Quarmby. Recorded as "Cornebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Querneby" in the 1237 Close Rolls of that county, the component elements of the placename are the Old Scandinavian "kvern", corresponding to the Olde English pre 7th Century "cweorn", a mill, especially a handmill, with the Old Norse "byr", village, settlement; hence, "settlement with a handmill". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their place of origin to settle elsewhere. One Alexander de Quernby was noted in Wills Records of East Cheshire, dated 1437. In the modern idiom the name has two spelling variations, Quarmby and Quarnby. On January 24th 1635 William, son of Thomas Quarmby, was christened in Almondbury, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelmus de Querenby, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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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