This well known surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, from any of the various places so called, for example Bramley in Derbyshire, Hampshire, Surrey, the West Riding of Yorkshire and elsewhere. The name, in all cases, derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brom-leah", a compound of the elements "brom" meaning "broom" or "gorse" (perhaps also bramble), and "leah", a "clearing". Hence, "a clearing overgrown with broom". Locational surnames were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace.The surname is chiefly found in Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire, and is first recorded in the former county (see below). One Willelmus de Bramley appears in the 1379 Poll Tax Records of Yorkshire. On April 10th 1847, one Patrick Bramley, aged 20 yrs., embarked from Liverpool on the ship "Ellerslie" bound for New York. He was a famine immigrant into America. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nigel de Bramleye, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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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