The surname of CONYBEARE was a locational name 'of Collibear' a hamlet in the parish of Tavistock, County Devon. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. Early records of the name mention CONYBEAR (without surname) who was recorded in the year 1185 in County Devon. Edward CONEYBEAR of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). The name has many variant spellings which include CONEYBEARE, CONNABEAR, CONIBEER and CONNABEAR. Families acquired a place name as a surname under three different sets of circumstances. Either the man lived or worked in, on or near some topographic formation or landscape feature, either natural or artificial or he formerly lived in a village, town or city and acquired the reputation of being from that place. Finally he owned or was lord of the village or manor designated. In the overwhelming majority of cases it is impossible to say whether a remote ancestor owned the manor or had merely once lived in that place. However, it is safe to say that in most cases a manor or village name merely identifies the place where the original bearer of the name formerly resided. The rise of surnames, according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans. Of these, only a few were really popular and in the 12th century this scarcity of christian names led to the increasing use of surnames to distinguish the numerous individuals of the same name. Some Normans had hereditary surnames before they came to England, but there is evidence that surnames would have developed in England even had there been no Norman Conquest. The development of the feudal system made it essential that the king should know exactly what service each person owed. Payments to and by the exchequer required that debtors and creditors should be particularized, and it became official that each individual acquired exact identification. Later instances of the name include John Conybeare and Grace Wilcocks who were married in London in the year 1690. Richard Cilber and Ann Vitty were married at St. George's Hanover Square, London in 1757.
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