Last name: Bright
This is a Medieval English nickname or given name meaning 'bright', 'fair' or 'beautiful'. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th century 'beorht' meaning 'bright' or 'shining'. It may also be a short form of the Olde English personal name Beorhthelm - a compound of the elements 'beorht' - bright and 'helm' a helmet. The surname is first recorded in the mid 13th century. Alternate spellings of the name have included le Brythe (1278) and Brite (1279). One Adam Bright appears in the 1296 'Subsidy Rolls of Sussex'. An interesting name bearer was Richard Bright (1789-1858) a physician who diagnosed and gave his name to Bright's disease. He was descended from Henry Bright (d. 1626), school master at Worcestershire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Briht which was dated 1252 The Pipe Rolls of Huntingdonshire during the reign of King Henry 111 The Frenchman 1216-1272 Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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