This surname, widespread in Cheshire, and in the East Midlands, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational name from Quarmby, a parish in the West Riding of Yorkshire within the county borough of Huddersfield. Recorded as "Cornebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086, and as "Querneby" in the 1237 Close Rolls of that county, the component elements of the placename are the Old Norse "kvern", corresponding to the Olde English pre 7th Century "cweorn", a mill, especially a handmill, with the Old Norse "byr", village, settlement; hence, "settlement with a mill". Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently gave rise to several variations on the original spelling of the name, which, in the modern idiom, is found as Quarnby, Wharnby, Wharmby, Warmby and Wormby. On September 20th 1573, Elline Wharmbye and James Hardey were married in Northenden, Cheshire, and in 1580, Henry Wharmby, of Offerton, "husbandman", was noted in the Wills Records at Cheshire. The marriage of Alice Wharmby to Gilbert Bailey took place at Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, on February 22nd 1767. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Willelmus de Querenby, which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns Records of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was 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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