This is an ancient locational surname which derives from the village of Moorby, in Lincolnshire. This village was recorded as "Morebi" in the 1086 Domesday Book, and as Moreby in the 1254 Valuation of East Anglia. The origin is Norse-Viking "Mora-byr", translating as the farm or place (byr) by the fens (mora). The surname is found widely scattered and with equally wide variations of spelling. This suggests that in the 15th century the village was "cleared" either through plague, civil war or sheep farming, to enable the landlord to enclose the commons. The villagers forced to seek other habitations would take as their surname, the name of their village, hence the development of "sounds like" spelling forms. Examples of the name spelling include Henry Moorby who married Elizabeth Ely at St. Dunstan church, London on October 20th 1622, John Morby of Chelsea, on October 24th 1721 at Allhallows Church, and William Mourby (originally recorded as Morbay) a christening witness at St. Magnus the Martyr, London on March 13th 1808. The Coat of Arms most associated with the name is silver, on a blue bend, three six pointed pierced mullets in gold. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elena de Moreby, which was dated 1379, in the Poll Tax Rolls 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.

Surnames reference. 2013.

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