This interesting and unusual surname is a patronymic of Robert, which is of early medieval English and French origin, from a Germanic personal name, composed of the elements "hrod", renown, and "berht", bright, famous. This name was found occasionally in England before the Norman Conquest, but in the main it was introduced by the Normans and quickly became popular among all classes of society. The personal name is first recorded as "Robertus", "Rotbert", and "Robert", in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name was adopted as a surname in the latter half or the 13th Century. The modern surname can be found as Robert and Robart, and the patronymics include, Roberts, Robarts, Rob(e)son, Rabson and Rapson: Rabson and Rapson are usually found recorded in Cornwall. Among the Church Recordings in London are the christening of John, son of William and Sarah Rapson, on March 8th 1697 at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, and the christening of Richard Rapson and Mary Steward on December 18th 1748 at St. Anne and St. Agnes, Aldersgate. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Roberdes, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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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