This is an interesting name which has two possible meanings, the first being 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 Olde English pre 7th Century "brycg", the Middle English "brigge" and Olde German "brucca", bridge. In some instances the name may be locational from places so called in England, Germany and the Flemish city of Bruges; the latter meaning bridges and having extensive trading links with England in the Middle Ages. A notable namebearers, Charles Bridgman (deceased 1738), was the Kings' gardener during the reign of George 1st and George 11. He laid out Serpentine and gardens between in and Kensington Palace (1730-1733). 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 1st, "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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