This interesting and unusual name of Medieval English origin is locational from a so called "lost" village which was probably once to be found in Devon, suggested by the fact that the name, and its variants, Broadbeer and Broadbear are prevalent there. The derivation is either from the Old English pre 7th Century "brad", broad and "bere" barley, or "broad", with "baer", pasture, the latter, a broad pasture being more likely. The "lost" village phenomenon was a result of enforced land clearance at the height of the wool industry in the 12th and 13th Centuries, to make way for sheep pasture. It is estimated that there are between seven and ten thousand such villages that have disappeared from British maps. Thomas Broadbere married Sarah Howe on October 21st 1650 at Culmstuck, Devon. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Christian Brodebeare, (marriage to William Serell), which was dated September 23rd 1605, Ottery Saint Mary, Devon, during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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