This interesting name, with variant spellings Briscom, Brescomb, Briskham etc., recorded in English church registers from the late 16th Century is of English locational origin from one of the estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets that have now disappeared from the maps in Britain. The prime cause of these "disappearances" was the enforced "clearing" and dispersal of the former inhabitants to make way for sheep pastures at the height of the wool trade in the 14th Century. Natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348 also contributed to the lost village phenomenon.The component elements of the placename are believed to be the old English pre 7th Century "briosa", a "gad-fly", plus "cumb", a deep hollow or valley; hence, "valley frequented by gad-flies". On June 29th 1618, Ambrose Brescombe, an infant, was christened in St. Andrew's, Plymouth, Devonshire, and on May 4th 1783 Ann, daughter of Robert Briscam, was christened in St. Peter's, Leeds, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Parnell Briscom, (christening), which was dated May 5th 1587, Hough on the Hill, Lincolnshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, "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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