This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a topographical name given to a dweller on the land near the bridge, from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "brycg", a bridge (Middle English "brigge"), and "land", land, probably referring to an estate or some landed property. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since both man-made and natural features in the landscape provided easily recognisable distinguishing names in the small communities of the Middle Ages.The surname itself is first recorded in the late 13th Century (see below), while one Henry de Bregelonde is mentioned in the Assize Court Rolls of Kent in 1317. Other early recordings include the marriage of Alice Bredgeland and Michell Draner on October 9th 1559, at Staplehurst in Kent; the christening of Richard, son of John and Ann Bridgeland, on December 20th 1681, at Cowden in Kent; and the marriage of Mary Bridgland and Ezekiel Clarke on September 18th 1682, at Lewes in Sussex. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Bregelonde, which was dated 1296, in the "Subsidy Rolls of Sussex", 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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