The surname of HORNBY was a locational name 'of Hornby' parishes in County Lancashire and County York. The name was derived from the Old Norman personal name HORNBYR, and literally meant the dweller on the farm settlement. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived.
The acquisition of surnames in Europe and England, during the last eight hundred years has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure, naming practices in cultures and traditions. On the whole the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working class or the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in more sparsely populated rural areas. The bulk of surnames in England were formed in the 13th and 14th centuries. The process started earlier and continued in place names into the 19th century, but the norm is that in the 11th century people did not have surnames, whereas by the 15th century they did.
Early records of the name mention Johannes de Hornesby of Yorkshire, listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. Jenet Horneby was listed in the Lancashire Wills at Richmond in the year 1638. William Hornby of Eccleston was recorded in the same Wills in 1668.
The name is also spelt Hornbey.
The associated arms are recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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