Recorded in many forms including Tabard, Tabord, Tabary, Tabart, Tabert and Tabbitt, this is a surname of French origins. Introduced into England after the famous Norman Invasion of 1066, it derives from the Old French words 'tabart or tabard', and is cognate with the pre 7th century German 'tappert'. As such it was an occupational surname either for a manufacturer of a sleeveless, heavy coat, known as a tabard, or possibly as a nickname for someone who continually wore such a garment. This may have been a former soldier, since these coats were the habitual wear of the military, although being a warm protective garment, were later adopted by knights, as part of their battledress. The tabard is also used widely in heraldic bearings, and by the 16th Century it had become an essential part of a herald's uniform. Occasionally a picture of the tabard was used either as a house sign or as the sign for a maker of tabards, which may well have been the same place. This was in the days before numbering, with as an example 'John atte tabard'. He appears in the London lists known as the 'Calendar of Pleas' and was dated 1371. This was during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, 1227 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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