Recorded in an amazing range of spellings, this is an English locational surname of some history and antiquity. The spellings include Bainbridge, Banbridge, Banbrigge, Banbrick, Bembridge, Bembrick, Bembrigge, Benbrick, and Benbrigg. However spelt the origination is from the village of Bainbridge in the parish of Aysgarth, in North Yorkshire. Bainbridge stands on the River Bain. The derivation of the river name is from the Old Norse word of the pre 7th century a.d. "beinn" and the Old English word of the same period "brycg". This word formerly described a causeway over the water, the modern meaning as "bridge" being later. There is some doubt about the exact meaning of "beinn", but it is usually taken to mean "straight" which seems logical when applied to a causeway. However as the word could also translate as "handy" or "direct", the sense would just as easily apply to a convenient crossing over of a river. Locational names were often given to people who left their original place of residence, and went to live in another village or town. The easiest form of identification in the small communities of the middle ages being to call 'strangers' by the name of the place that they owned, or the place where they came from. Early examples of the recordings include Christopher Bainbridge (1464 - 1514), the Archbishop of York in the reign of King Henry V111, and Thomas Bainbrigg, the master of Christ College, Cambridge University, from 1640 to 1646, when he was expelled for being a royalist. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Matilda de Baynbrigg. This was dated 1301, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Yorkshire, in the reign of King Edward Ist of England, 1272 - 1307. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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