This unusual and intriguing surname is of early medieval English origin, and has two possible derivations, both from Old Germanic personal names. Firstly, Rabbatts can be a diminutive form of Rabb, which is a short, "pet" form of the male given name Robert, a Germanic name composed of the elements "hrod", renown and "berht", bright, famous. The Normans adopted the name and introduced it to England after the Conquest of 1066, and it quickly became a popular male given name generating a number of variants and derivative surnames. Secondly, Rabbatts may derive from the Germanic personal name "Radbodo", Rabbodo", composed of the elements "rad", counsel, advice and "bodo", message, tidings. This was also introduced by the Normans as "Radbode" and "Rabbode" and is so recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086. The "-s" ending indicates that the name is a patronymic. The name development includes Andrew Robat (1279, Huntingdonshire), Thomas Robot (1327, Cambridge) and Reginald Rabbet (1524, Suffolk). Joseph Samuel, son of Thomas and Catherine Rabbatts, was christened on December 14th 1827 at St. Alphage, Greenwich, Kent. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Philip Rabot, which was dated circa 1260, in the "Charters relating to the Gilbertine Houses (Lincolnshire)", 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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