That this is an English locational surname, seems beyond any reasonable argument. Furthermore it has been recorded in London since the early 17th century as either Bridgewood or Bridgwood, the spelling seems to have been interchangeable even amongst members of the same family. The problems begin when we try to find a place called 'Bridge wood' or similar. The gazetteers even those going back to the 16th century, have failed to produce an example of such a site, hamlet or village, and we are forced to conclude that either this surname represents one of the five thousand or so 'lost' medieval villages, of which only the surname remains as a memory of its existence, or the 'modern' surname is a variant of something else. In the latter case we have also drawn a blank. We have Bridgefords, Bridgewaters, and Bridwells, but nothing even remotely similar to Bridg(e)wood. What we do know is that all London Bridg(e)woods descend from Lawrence Bridgewood, see below, and that for over one hundred and fifty years the family was closely associated with the famous church of St Andrews by the Wardrobe, Holborn. Examples of these recordings include Thomas Bridgewood, whose daughter was christened at St Andrews on December 15th 1653, Charles Bridgwood, christened at the same church on January 14th 1764, and Robert Bridgewood, who married Maria Bond at St Lukes church, Old Charlton, London, on April 11th 1831. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lawrence Bridgewood, which was dated March 25th 1620, a witness at St Andrews, Holborn, London, during the reign of King James 1st of England and V1 of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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