The surname of ATTENBROW was an English habitation name for someone who 'lived at the manor house'. The name was derived from the Old English word 'atten' (at the) and 'burh' (manor house). There was also a place 'Attenborough' a parish in County Nottingham, and 'Attleburgh' a town in County Norfolk, from where the original bearer may have taken his name. Habitation names, which are by far the largest group, usually denoted where the original bearer of the name held his land, and where he actually lived. These local surnames derive (with a few occasional exceptions) from English, Scottish or French places, and were originally preceded by a preposition such as 'atte' or 'bye'. The earliest local surnames of French origin are chiefly from Normandy, particularly from the departments of Calvados, Eure, Seine-Inferieure and La Manche, although some Frenchmen, arriving in England early acquired surnames from English places. Local names may derive from the manor held, the place of residence, and occasionally from a sign like an Inn or Tavern, or a particularly unusual shape of rock, hill, tree, stream or river. Early records of the name mention Walter Attebure of County Kent, who was recorded in the year 1273, and Alicia de Atteburwe appears in Cambridge in the same year. Ralf de Atlebrow was documented during the reign of Edward 111 (1327-1377) in Norfolk.
Later instances of the name mention Laurence Atterbury and Elizabeth Poynter who were married in Canterbury in 1661, and Louis Gouyn wed Elizabeth Atterbury at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in 1769.
Notable members of the name are Sir David Frederick Attenborough, born in 1926, the English naturalist and broadcaster, the younger brother of film-maker Sir Richard Attenborough. He has undertaken numerous expeditions to remote parts of the globe to capture intimate footage of rare wildlife in its natural habitat. His brother, Sir Richard, had a twenty-year crusade to film the life of Mahatma Gandhi, which led to an Academy Award in 1982.
The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. (Attenbury).
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