This is a rare English surname, and apparently one of pre 7th century Danish-Viking origins. It is clearly locational and derives either from the ancient town of Spilsby in the county of Lincolnshire, or more likely from some now "lost" medieval village, probably in the county of Lancashire, where most recordings are to be found. The origination is apparently from the ancient personal name 'Spillr' with the suffix -bi, meaning the farm or settlement of Spillr. The word and name Spillr was used to indicate someone who was 'a bit of a lad', from which one has to draw ones own conclusions as to the actual meaning. The northern areas of England particularly much of East Anglia, Yorkshire, Northumberland, and to the west of the Pennines in Lancashire, were particulary influenced by Scandanavian culture, since they were ruled by the Vikings for several centuries. In this case early examples of the surname recordings taken from surviving church registers in the county of Lancashire include those of John Spiby who was christened at Croston, the place where most recordings occur, on September 9th 1613, whilst on May 15th 1661, Jane Spibey married one Richard Smith at St. Pancras Old Church, in the city of London. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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