This unusual and intriguing name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and represents a rare survival of an Olde English pre 7th Century female given name "Wigburh", composed of the elements "wig", war, with "burh", fortress. The name is rare for two reasons; firstly, because a great many of the native Anglo-Saxon given names were lost after the Norman Conquest of 1066, when a large number of Continental (mostly Germanic and French) personal names were introduced; and secondly, because the surname derives from a female given name and is thus a metronymic, whereas the majority of hereditary surnames derive from the name of the father, European society having been almost invariably patriarchal throughout history. The personal name is recorded as "Wyburgh" in Suffolk in 1182, and as "Wiburge" in 1219, in the Leicestershire Curia Rolls, and early examples of the surname include: Margeria Wyburgh (1327, Cambridgeshire), and Thomas Sybourgwe (1327, Suffolk). The modern surname forms range from Wyber, Wyberg(h), Wybrew, Waybrow and Wheybrew to Whybray, Whybrew, Wiber, Wibrew and Wibrow. Recordings from Church Registers include that of the marriage of Richard Whybray and Martha Steggles, at Barrow in Suffolk, on February 2nd 1789. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Wybir, which was dated 1279, in the "Hundred Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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