Recorded in several spellings including Sheaber, Sheabbear, Sheber, Shebber, and Shieber, this is an English surname. It is well recorded in the surviving church registers of the diocese of Greater London from the mid 17th century as shown below. The origin would suggest that it is locational from the village of Shebbear, near Holsworthy, right in the centre of the county of Devonshire, in the far west of England. The place name means the place where 'polling' took place. That was an area where trees were deliberately pruned to produce fencing poles. Locational surnames by their very nature are usually 'from' names. That is to to say names that were given to strangers after they had left their original homes wherever, and had moved somewhere else. The easiest way to identify such people was to call them by the name of the place from whence they came. Spelling over the centuries being at best indifferent, and local dialects very thick, soon lead to the development of 'sounds like' spellings. In this case the development of the place name is from the ancient words 'sceft-beara' meaning an area which was 'pollarded' for fencing stakes and the like. Early examples of the surname recording showing differing spellings include: Mary Sheabear, christened at St Olaves Southwark, on April 10th 1688, Paul Sheber, who married Elizabeth Gay, at St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on April 3rd 1727, and Elizabeth Shebbeare, who married Charles le Geyt at St Anne's Soho, Westminster, on April 7th 1763.
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