Recorded in many spelling forms including the French and English Abba, Abbay, Abbe, Abbey, Abbate, Abbatt, Labbe, Labbey, Labey, Abade, the Scottish Abbie and Abbe, and the Italian Abbattini, Dell'Abate or Degli Abbati, this most interesting and unusual surname is of Olde French pre 10th century origins. It derives from the word "abet" which usually means a priest, but may have also, particularly in Italy, have referrred to a local chief or an official master of ceremonies. This indicates that several origins are possible, including a nickname for one who was thought to be rather "priestly" in his characteristics, or an occupational or status name for a local chief or official, or that it may be theatrical and a "casting" name for an actor, one who played the part of a priest in the famous travelling theatres of the medieval period. Despite the first recording shown below the name is unlikely, as a hereditary surname, to have originated from an actual abbe or priest. These members of the clergy since the 11th century, have been expected to be unmarried and celibate. Whether they were or not is open to some discussion, particulary as occasionally this surname is recorded as a patronymic or diminutive, indicating the "son of the abbe!". The surname is first recorded in any form anywhere in the world in England in 1177, when Ralph Le Abbe appears in the charters of London during the reign of King Henry 11 (1154 - 1189). 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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  • Abbey — (englisch Abtei) bezeichnet: Abbey (Familienname), siehe dort für Namensträger Abbey ist Ortsname von: Abbey (Devon), eine Gemeinde in Devonshire, Vereinigtes Königreich Abbey Dore, eine Gemeinde in Herefordshire Abbey Green, eine Gemeinde in… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Abbey — Ab bey ([a^]b b[y^]), n.; pl. {Abbeys} ( b[i^]z). [OF. aba[ i]e, abba[ i]e, F. abbaye, L. abbatia, fr. abbas abbot. See {Abbot}.] 1. A monastery or society of persons of either sex, secluded from the world and devoted to religion and celibacy;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Abbey — • A monastery canonically erected and autonomous, with a community of not fewer than twelve religious; monks under the government of an abbot; nuns under that of an abbess Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Abbey     Abbey …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • abbey — [ab′ē] n. [ME abbeie < OFr abaie < LL(Ec) abbatia, ABBACY] 1. a monastery headed by an abbot, or a convent of nuns headed by an abbess 2. the monks or nuns in such a place, collectively 3. a church or building belonging to an abbey SYN.… …   English World dictionary

  • Abbey —   [ æbɪ], Edward, amerikanischer Schriftsteller, * in Arizona 29. 1. 1927, ✝ Tucson (Arizona) 14. 3. 1989; einer der bedeutendsten Vertreter der neuen Literatur des Westens in den USA; knüpft an die Tradition der naturverbundenen Cowboys an, die… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Abbey — Nom anglais désignant celui qui habite près d une abbaye, éventuellement celui qui y travaille. Variante : Abbay …   Noms de famille

  • abbey — (n.) mid 13c., convent headed by an abbot or abbess, from Anglo Fr. abbeie, O.Fr. abaïe, from L.L. abbatia, from abbas (gen. abbatis); see ABBOT (Cf. abbot) …   Etymology dictionary

  • abbey — *cloister, convent, nunnery, monastery, priory …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

  • abbey — [n] building that houses monks, nuns, or priests; church cloister, convent, friary, ministry, monastery, nunnery, priory, temple; concepts 368,439 …   New thesaurus

  • abbey — ► NOUN (pl. abbeys) ▪ an establishment occupied by a community of monks or nuns. ORIGIN Old French abbeie, from Latin abbas abbot …   English terms dictionary

  • Abbey — An abbey (from Latin abbatia, derived from Syriac abba, father ), is a Christian monastery or convent, under the government of an Abbot or an Abbess, who serves as the spiritual father or mother of the community.Some cities were ruled by heads of …   Wikipedia

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