This unusual surname has been recorded in England since at least the 12th century, although the origin remains open to some speculation. It is possible that as the old French for a fiddle was "rebeck" that the surname is a metonymic for a fidler or a player of a stringed instrument. The second possibility is that it is an early nickname development of Rebecca, a hebrew name of great popularity which was introduced into England by the returning Crusaders from the Holy Land in the 11th and 12th centuries.The first recording as shown below is a diminutive form, in effect "Ribek - son", but this does not prove the origin. Recordings prior to the 17th century are rare and erratic, examples of known recordings include Dionifius Rebbeck (female) who married Thomas Kent at St. James church, Dukes Place, London on August 23rd 1694, although considerably earlier on December 8th 1560, one John Raebeck married Elizabeth Barker in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Also in Yorkshire on November 22nd 1740 Abraham Rebecca was a christening witness at Almondbury, Huddersfield. This is one of the very few examples of this spelling form. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Gilbert Ribekon, which was dated 1273, in the "hundred rolls of Cambridge", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "the hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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