This interesting name, with variant spellings Bristowe, Bristoe, Bristo and Brister is locational from the city of Bristol in the former county of Gloucestershire (now Avon). Recorded as Brycgstow in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle dated 1063 and as Bristou in the Domesday Book of 1086, the name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "Brycg", a bridge, plus "stow", an assembly place, hence, "assembly place on a bridge". The surname from this source is first recorded towards the end of the 12th Century, (see below). One, Peter de Bristo appears in the 1195 "Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire". The spelling Bristoll appears in the Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire, dated 1200. The final "l" on the name is attributed to scribes' Latin. On January 16th 1561 Margery Bristow and Custopher Morris were married in Thornbury, Gloucestershire and Lodger Bristow who married Elizabeth Vane on May 12th 1577 at St. Mary the Virgin, Aldermanbury, London. One Margaret Bristow, aged 50 yrs., a famine emigrant, sailed from Liverpool aboard the Marmion bound for New York on May 25th 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lia de Bristou, which was dated 1191, the Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire, during the reign of King Richard 1, Richard the Lionheart, 1189 - 1199. 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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