This English surname was brought to Ireland by settlers. Its heaviest distribution is in County Antrim where families of the name were settled around Carrickfergus early in the 17th century, whence some of the name established themselves at the end of that century in County Armagh. At a much earlier date, at least from the 14th century, a Dobbin family had made its home in County Waterford. Ireland was one of the earliest countries to evolve a system of hereditary surnames; they came into being fairly generally in the 11th century, and indeed a few were formed before the year 1000. Early records of the name mention Matilda Dobin, 1273, County Cambridge. Robert Dobyn of County Somerset, was documented during the reign of Edward III (1327-1377). Johannes Dobynson of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Thomas Dobbinson and Mary Chandler were married at St. George's, Hanover Square, London in the year 1725. The name has many variant spellings which include Dobbing, Dobbings, Dobbyns, Dobinson and Dobbins. Originally the coat of arms identified the wearer, either in battle or in tournaments. Completely covered in body and facial armour the knight could be spotted and known by the insignia painted on his shield, and embroidered on his surcoat, the draped garment which enveloped him. The origin of badges and emblems, are traced to the earliest times, although, Heraldry, in fact, cannot be traced later than the 12th century, or at furthest the 11th century. At first armorial bearings were probably like surnames and assumed by each warrior at his free will and pleasure, his object being to distinguish himself from others. It has long been a matter of doubt when bearing Coats of Arms first became hereditary. It is known that in the reign of Henry V (1413-1422), a proclamation was issued, prohibiting the use of heraldic ensigns to all who could not show an original and valid right, except those 'who had borne arms at Agincourt'. The College of Arms (founded in 1483) is the Royal corporation of heralds who record proved pedigrees and grant armorial bearings.
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