- This unusual and interesting name, with its variant spellings Rowberry, Rowbrey, Rowbury, Ruberry and Rubra, is of medieval English origin and is a dialectal variant of a locational name Roborough from two places so called in Devon and the Isle of Wight. The placename in Devon is first recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Raweberge" and in the Fees of 1242 as "Rugheberg", and is derived from two Old English pre 7th Century words "ruh", meaning rough, uncultivated, and "beorg", a hill, a derivation it shares with "Rowborough" in the Isle of Wight or "Ruborough Hill" in Somerset. Locational names were often adopted by former inhabitants of the village, having left, as a means of identification. Amongst the sample recordings in Devon is the christening of Catherine Rubery on July 29th 1759 at Stoke Damerel, and in Lancashire, the marriage of Thomas Rubery and Ann Murray on August 30th 1871, at Manchester Cathedral. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Rubury, which was dated 1327, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Worcestershire", during the reign of King Edward 111, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. 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.