This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and is a dialectual variant of the locational or topographical surname "Broadwood", from any one of the places so called in Devonshire and Somerset. The places are recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Bradehode", "Bradewode" and "Bradeuda" respectively, and share the same meaning and derivation, which is "the barge wood", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brad" meaning "broad, wide", with "wudu", wood. As a topographical surname "Broadwood", "Brawood" and "Braywood" denote residence at or by the large wood. One Roger Braywood married Tempance Gabriell at Falmouth, Cornwall, in 1693 and Agnes Brawood was married to Robert Abbot in April 1707 at Plympton, Devon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Braywood, married Ann Skynner, which was dated 1st June 1662, All Saints, Wandsworth, during the reign of King Charles II, The Merry Monarch, 1660 - 1685. 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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