Recorded in several spellings including Bradbury, Broadbere, Broadberrie, Broadberry, Broadbury, this is an English surname. It is of medieval locational origins from a so called "lost" village which was once to be found some ten miles from the town of Okehampton in the county of Devon, and also suggested by the fact that the surname and its variants, are prevalent there. The derivation is either from the Old English pre 7th century word "brad", meaning broad and "burg" a castle although "baer", meaning a pasture is also possible. The "lost" village phenomenon was a result of enforced land clearance at the height of the wool industry in the 15th century, to make way for sheep pasture, and it is estimated that over three thousand such villages that have disappeared from British maps in the five centuries since. Early examples of the surname recording include those of Christian Brodebeare, who married William Sewell at Ottery St. Mary, Devon, on September 23rd 1605, Thomas Broadbere who married Sarah Howe on October 21st 1650 at Culmstuck, also Devon, and Elizabeth Broadberry, who married Johh Ball at St Mary-le-Bone, in the city of London, on May 4th 1682. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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