Recorded in several spellings including Branscomb, Branscombe, and Brownscombe, this very interesting surname is a "dual" development of an English, and specifically Devonion, locational surname. The name originates, whatever its precise spelling, from the village of Branscombe in East Devon, a place variously spelt over the centuries as Branescumb as far back as the year 880 a.d., and therefore one of the earliest place names ever recorded, and in 1070 as Branchescumb. The name is believed to mean "Ravens valley", although it is possible that Raven (branoc) may be a personal name from the Ancient British era. The surname is much later, and like most locational surnames was given to people after they moved to another village, as an easy form of identification. In this case the original epicentre of the name is the village of Shobrooke, near Crediton, where from the earliest days different spellings seem to have been adopted, possibly even within the same family. Early examples taken from surviving church registers which help to show the "dual" development include Jone Branscome, christened at Crediton, on June 18th 1572, and Ales Brownscombe, the daughter of George Brownscombe, christened at Shobrooke, on May 3rd 1584. The first known recording may be that of Johanne Branscombe, who married John Grantland at Shobrooke, on January 24th 1544. This was during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1510 - 1547.
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