The surname of MABLY was an English medieval given name MABBE, originally derived from the Latin AMABILIS meaning loveable. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Many surnames derived from the names of animals and birds. In the Middle Ages ideas were held about the characters of other living creatures, based on observation, and these associations were reflected and reinforced by large bodies of folk tales featuring animals behaving as humans. The name has survived into the 20th century as Mabel. Early records of the name mention MABBE (without surname) who was recorded in 1293 in County Chester, and Ralph John Mabbly was documented in London in the year 1278. in Bedfordshire in 1309. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way. Later instances of the name mention John Mabile of Yorkshire who was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. A certain William Mabley was listed in the Wills of Lancashire in 1644. A notable member of the name was Gabriel Bonnot de MABLY (1709-85) the French historian, born in Grenoble. For a time he was secretary to the minister Cardinal Tencin, his uncle and wrote a 'Entretiens de Phocion' (1763).
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