This name is of English locational origin from a place in Somerset called Bridgewater. Recorded as Brugie in the Domesday Book of 1086 and as Brigewaltier in the 1194 Pipe Rolls of that county, the first element derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'Brycg', the Bridge. The second element is the personal name Walter, hence 'Walters Bridge'. Walter de Dowai was a 12th Century owner of the place. Such locational names were given as surnames of identification to former inhabitants who moved either voluntarily or otherwise from their place or village of origin. On May 29th 1614 William Bridgewater and Dorothy Ulster were married in St. Margaret's, Lothbury, London and on April 2nd 1682 John Bridgewater married Elizabeth Browne in St. Katherine by the Tower, London, John Egerton (1579 - 1649) was created first Earl of Bridgewater in 1617. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Marmaduke Brydgewater who married Marye Woodman, which was dated June 18th 1559, at St. Stephen's, Coleman Street, London, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth l, known as 'Good Queen Bess', 1558 - 1603. 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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