This surname is of Norman-French origin, from St. Aubyn in France, and may be regarded as a completely Hibernicized surname. The family, first called ‘de St. Aubyn’, arrived in Ireland after the Norman invasion of 1169 – 1170, where they settled in County Tipperary and County Kilkenny. The Tobin’s were an extremely influential family in County Tipperary, and the head of the family was known as Baron of Coursey. In the 14th century the Tobin’s were described as “a turbulent sept more dreaded by the English than the native Irish”.
The first recorded spelling of the family name is that of Tobin, which is an Anglicized version of the Gaelic Tóibin, and was dated to 1350, in “Medieval records of County Kilkenny”.
The family also held many large estates in Devon, on the southwest coast of England, after the Norman invasion. Variations of the early spelling of the name St. Aubyn included Torbyn, Tobyn, and others.