Recorded in many forms including Shillabear, Shillabeare, Shillabeer, Shillaber, and the dialectal transposition Shillaker, this is an English surname. It is of medieval origins and is locational from a 'lost' village called Shillibeer, near the village of Meavy, in the county of Devonshire. The village was last recorded in 1587 during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st (1558 - 1603). The derivation is from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'scylfe', meaning the flat stone on the top of a cromlech, with 'bere', a valley. The phenomena of the 'lost' village was a result of enforced land clearance during the 15th to 18th centuries, at the introduction of the woollen industry, when as much grazing land as possible was turned into sheep pasture. It has been estimated that about seven thousand such places have disappeared from British maps, and the majority have given rise to locational surnames. In this case early examples of the surname recording taken from authentic surviving rolls, registers, and charters of the late medieval period include: Margery Shelliber of Plymouth in the year 1595, Richard Shillabeare of Totnes in 1604, Ann Shillabear, who married Thomas Notley at St Pancras Old Church on November 15th 1825, and William Shillaker, who marrried Ellen Elliott, St James church, Paddington, on March 26th 1865, both the latter in the city of London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Shullebere of Devon. This was dated 1333, during the reign of King Richard 111rd of England, 1327 - 1377. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop", often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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