This interesting surname, with variant spelling Brodbent, widely recorded in Yorkshire church registers from the mid 16th Century, is of locational origin from a place near Oldham in South East Lancashire called Broadbent. The component elements of the placename are the Old English pre 7th Century "brad", broad or extensive, plus "beonet", a collective singular noun meaning "bent grass", "rushes" or "reeds". The reference therefore is to an extensive patch of land on which rushes grew. On April 20th 1548, Agnes Brodbent and Robert Haldam were married in Rotherham, Yorkshire and on June 11th of that year Thomas Broadbent married an Agnes Smyth in Halifax. One, Lawrence Bradbent of Balliol College, Oxford, was entered in the "Oxford University Register" in 1570, and in 1590 Alice Broadbent of Saddleworth, "spinster", was noted in "Wills records at Chester". The marriage of John Broadbent and Mary Hopkins took place in Ashton under Lyne by Manchester, on July 17th 1659. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Brodebent, which was dated 1513, The Register of the Freemen of York City, during the reign of King Henry V111, "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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