This is an Olde English locational surname of part 8th century Norse-Viking origins. It derives from a now apparently "lost" medieval village, similar to the surviving Skelbrook, which is a village near Doncaster in Yorkshire. Skelbrook has the same meaning as Skilbeck or Skelbeck, that is a hut (skiell) by a small river (beck or brook), and it is possible that the two villages are or were, one and the same place. What is certain is that the surname as Skelbeck and Skilbeck is well recorded in the South Yorkshire area from the 16th century, and particularly in that region known as "Elmet". The dating suggests that the original village may have ceased to exist possibly through plague, very prevalent at the time, or changes in agricultural practise, and in either case the villagers had no alternative but to seek homes and work elsewhere. In so doing they took or were given, as their surnames, the name of their former village, an easy form of identification for "strangers".Early examples of the surname recording include Elizabeth Skilbeck, the daughter of John Skilbeck, christened at Monk Fryston on July 7th 1584, and Anne Skilbecke, the daughter of William, christened at Ryther church on April 24th 1594. The earliest known recording of the surname may be that of Alice Skelbeck, christened at Saxton in Elmet, West Riding of Yorkshire, on October 31st 1561. This was in the third year of the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1st, 1558 - 1603.
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