Recorded in various spellings including Brisco, Briscoe, Briscow and others, this is an English surname. It is of northern origin, and locational, from either the village of Briscoe in Cumberland, or Briscoe in the North Riding of Yorkshire. The former, recorded as Brethesco in the Pipe Rolls of that county in 1203, and as Brisco in the following year derives its name from the Old Norse Viking word "Bretaskogr" meaning "wood of the (Strathclyde) Britons". Locational surnames, such as this, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or more especially by former inhabitants who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname is first recorded in the early half of the 14th Century (see below), and one William Bryskhow appears in the Yorkshire County Rolls, dated 1410. Recordings from church registers include the christening of Ann Briscoe, on September 16th 1607, at St. Peter's Church, Leeds, and the marriage of Gilbert Brisco and Margaret Payte on July 25th 1621, at Skipton in Craven. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Briscow, and dated 1332, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Cumberland. during the reign of King Edward 111rd of England, and known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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