Recorded as Bridgen, Bridgens, and sometimes Bruggen, this is an English surname of two possible origins. The first is locational or possibly job descriptive and describes a person who lived or worked as a guard at the 'end of a bridge'. A bridge in ancient times was not usually a stone or wood arch over water, but a man made dyke or ridge which raised the roadway above the surrounding land. The first known recording of the surname is that of Aylward Attarebrughend of Somerset in the year 1243, and later that of John atte Brughende in the Hundred Rolls of Oxford in 1279. The second possible origin is not English at all, but ultimately Flemish. It is locational from the city of Bruges, a place which in the medieval times enjoyed a large market for its textiles in England. Many inhabitants of Bruge set up as merchants in England as in the example of Alexander Brugeyn in the Assize Rolls of Cambridge in 1260, and this spelling became 'fused' with the English forms.
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