This long-established surname is of English locational origin from the parish and village of Kilby, south east of Leicester in Leicestershire. Recorded as "Cilebi" in the Domesday Book of 1086; as "Kilebi" in the 1165 Pipe Rolls of that county, and as "Kildebi" in the 1195 Feet of Fines, the place is believed to have been named originally in Anglo-Saxon times from the Olde English pre 7th Century "cild", child (here used as a byname), with "tun", enclosure, settlement. The placename was later Scandinavianised with the substitution of an equivalent Old Norse latter element "byr", homestead, settlement. 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. Early examples of the surname include: Richard de Kelby (Lincolnshire, 1273); Thomas de Kylby (Leicestershire, 1327); and William de Keleby, rector of Kelling, Norfolk, in 1351. On July 6th 1597, Isabell Kilbey and Nicholas Jepsey were married at St. James' Clerkenwell, London, and on November 24th 1605, the christening of Ann, daughter of Henry Kilbey, took place at Crossington, Leicestershire. A Coat of Arms granted to the family is a silver shield with three torteaux in fesse between two azure barrulets, the Crest being a hand issuing from a cloud in fesse, pointing to a crosier in pale all proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Kilebi, which was dated 1202, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Northamptonshire", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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