Recorded in various spellings including Briscoe, Bryskow, Briskey, Britsky, Bricksey, Brixey, and others, this is an English surname. It is locational from either or both of the villages called Briscoe in Cumberland and North Yorkshire, or possibly Brixham in Devonshire, or even a now "lost" medieval village. Briscoe is first recorded as Brethesco in the Pipe Rolls of Cumberland in the year 1221 and derives its name from the Old Norse word "Bretaskogr" meaning "The wood of the (Strathclyde) Britons". Brixham has had various offficial spellings including Brikesham in 1205. Locational surnames were usually held by the lord of the manor, or former inhabitants of the place 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 Bryshow appears in the pipe rolls of the county of Yorkshire and dated 1410. Recordings from surviving church registers include the christening of Ann Briscoe, on September 16th 1607, at St. Peter's Leeds, and the marriage of Francis Brixy and Susanna Lord at St James Clerkenwell, city of London, on September 21st 1693. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Robert de Briscaw. This was dated 1332, in the Subsidy Tax Rolls of Cumberland during the reign of King Edward 111rd, known as "The Father of the Navy", 1327 - 1377. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this sometimes 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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