This interesting name, with variant spellings Bristowe, Bristo and Brister, is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and 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), and Peter de Bristo appeared 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. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the marriage of Margery Bristow and Custopher Morris on January 16th 1561, at Thornbury, Gloucestershire, and the marriage of Lodger Bristow and 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 in May 1846. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Lia de Bristou, which was dated 1191, in the "Pipe Rolls of Gloucestershire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "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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