This interesting and unusual surname, widely recorded in Yorkshire church registers from the mid 16th Century under the variant spellings Bryttlebank, Brittlebanck, Britlebank etc., is of 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 the "lost village" phenomenon 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, along with natural causes such as the Black Death of 1348. The original place is believed to have been in Yorkshire and the component elements of the name are most likely the old English pre 7th Century "beorht", bright, plus "hyll", hill and the Northern Medieval English "bank", ultimately from the old Scandinavian "banke" "ridge", or "bank". On November 29th 1573 Elizabeth Brittlebank and Hugo Allen were married in Sheffield and on May 30th 1641 John Brittlebanck married an Annie Jackson in Doncaster. The christening of Mattheus, son of Johannes Britlebank, took place in Burghwallis, Yorkshire on October 28th 1688. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Anne Bryttlebank, (christening), which was dated September 29th 1569, Featherstone, Yorkshire, 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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