This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name for a "dweller above the brook". The derivation of the name is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bufan", above, and "broc(e)", a marsh or brook. Topographical surnames were some of the earliest names to be created, as topographical features, whether natural or man-made, provided obvious and convenient means of identification in the small communities of the Middle Ages. The surname was first recorded in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). John Abovebrok is noted in the 1279 Hundred Rolls of Huntingdonshire, and John Bowebroke is listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Surrey (1453). In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Bowbrook, Bowbrooke, Bowbrick and Bowbricke. Recordings of the surname from English Church Registers include: the christening of Arnolde Bowbrooke on November 30th 1561, at Wisborough Green, Sussex; the christening of William, son of John Bowbrick, at Dunsfold, Surrey, on May 3rd 1629; and the marriage of Jane Bowbrick and Richard Bennet on January 17th 1648, at Worth, Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Wigor Buuebroc, which was dated 1221, in "Early Medieval Records of Suffolk", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "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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