This surname GIBBENS was derived from the Old English word Gebawin, meaning 'gift-friend'. The earliest of the name recorded appears to be Ralph Gibuin, documented in the year 1086. The name was originally brought into England from Germany in the wake of the Norman Invasion of 1066, and the original spelling of the name was GEBAWIN. Many of the early names recorded in medieval documents denote noble families but many also indicate migration from the continent during, and in the wake of, the Norman invasion of 1066. There was a constant stream of merchants, workmen and others arriving in England during this time. In 1086 the Record of Great Inquisition of lands of England, their extent, value, ownership and liabilities was made by order of William The Conqueror. It is known as the Domesday Book. 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according to the accepted theory, was due to the Norman Conquest of 1066 when Old English personal-names were rapidly superseded by the new christian names introduced by the Normans.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. Other records of the name mention Ralph Gibun who was documented in the year 1176 in County Oxford and Thomas Gibon appears in the year 1317 in County Kent. Richard Gibbings of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Later instances of the name include one Ellen Gybinnes who was baptised at St. Peter. Cornhill, London in the year of 1541. A notable member of the name was Edward Gibbon, English Historian, (1737-1794) author of 'The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.
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