This is an interesting name which has two possible meanings, the first being that it is either a topographical name for a person who lived near a bridge, or, a metonymic occupational name for a bridge keeper, possibly one who gathered the tolls. It is interesting to note that the building and maintenance of bridges was an important feudal obligation along with maintaining fortifications and bearing arms, and the cost of this was often defrayed by charging a toll. The derivation of this surname is from the Old English pre 7th Century "brycg", the Middle English "brigge" and Old German "brucca", bridge. In some instances the name may be locational from places so called in Kent Germany and the Flemish city of Bruges; the latter meaning bridges and having extensive trading links with England in the Middle Ages. One Susannah Bridgeman was christened on August 12th 1665 at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Brygeman, which was dated 1296, Subsidy Rolls of Sussex, during the reign of King Edward 1, "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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