This is an interesting and rare name of English origin which is locational from a so called 'lost' village, possibly once found in Yorkshire. This is suggested by the fact that there are several early recordings of this name in that county, and none elsewhere. The phenomena of the 'lost' village (of which it is estimated there are between seven and ten thousand that have disappeared from British maps) occurred in the 13th and 14th Centuries during the height of the wool industry, when there was enforced land clearance to make way for sheep pasture. The derivation of this name is from a British (pre Roman) personal name 'Branoc', or the Olde Welsh 'Branoc', a raven, and the suffix 'leah', a grove, thus ravens grove. The spelling in its earliest form has an additional letter 'c' which is later dropped as in the marriage between one Rihardus Brankley and Meriall Gibson on January 22nd 1632 at Sedgefield, Durham. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Marmaduci Brauckley (witness to a christening), which was dated 6th August 1564, Brandsburton, Yorkshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, Good Queen Bess, 1558 - 1603. 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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