This interesting and unusual surname is of Old French origin, introduced into England after the Norman Conquest of 1066. The surname derives from the Old French masculine given name "Sabin" or the feminine "Sabine", from the Latin "Sabinus", "Sabina", member of the Sabine tribe, an ancient people of Italy whose name is of uncertain origin. The masculine name was borne by at least ten early saints, but the feminine form was more popular in England in the Middle Ages. St. Sabinus, a 4th Century Bishop of Spoleto, and St.Sabina, a Roman matron martyred under Hadrian, ensured the survival of the name. "Sabina" (without surname) is noted in the Records of St. Benet of Holme, Norfolk (1286). The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below) and has many variant spellings ranging from Saben, Sabban, Sabbin(s) and Sabine to Sabie and Saby. John Sabine is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire (1279). On May 15th 1645, the christening of William, son of William Sabey, took place at St. Peter's, Cornhill, London, and Ann Sabbin married Philip Allen on April 26th 1665 at Flitton, Bedfordshire. The Coat of Arms most associated with the family is a silver shield with a black escallop, on a black chief two silver mullets pierced, the Crest being a silver demi bull rampant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Sabin, which was dated 1221, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Warwickshire", 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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