There is no such place as Bransgrove, nor does there ever appear to have been, and yet this surname is almost certainly locational. So how has it happened? It would seem that upto the late 17th century the surname was always found in the spelling with an 'm' as in Bromsgrove, and that around the 1680 date a gradual change took place - in London. And London or more specifically the London accent is probably the key. The original settlement of Bromsgrove in Worcestershire is first mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles as far back as 822 a.d., where it is recorded as 'Bremesgraf'. This suggests that the meaning was 'the grove (wood) belonging to Breme' an early personal name. By the time of Domesday Book in 1086 the spelling had become 'Bremesgrave', and the development continued over the following centuries. Surname spellings tend to follow the village spelling, but the further a nameholder moved from 'base', the greater the distorted spelling. In this case the earliest recordings give the spelling as 'Bromesgrove', a example being John Bromesgrove of Clerkenwell in 1578. In 1580 at St Giles Church, Cripplegate, is recorded John Bromegrave, whilst one hundred years later in 1694 we have the recording of Sarah Bramsgrove. Shortly before this in 1689 the first Bransgrove appears when Margaret Bransgrove married John Newman on July 28th of that year at St Mary Le Bone. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Bromesgrove, which was dated July 1st 1551, christened at St Nicholas Cole Abbey, London, during the reign of King Edward V1, known as 'The Boy King', 1547 - 1554. 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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