This is a medieval English surname or great antiquity. It is or was either a nickname or possibly an occupational name for an athlete or messenger. Derived from the pre 7th century Olde English phrase 'brad fot,' it is not thought to literally describe a man with a broad foot, but a person who covered a lot of ground in carrying out his job as a messenger, or in sport as a runner. The prefix brad, the later broad, is used with several 'personal' surnames. These include Broadbelt, which was given to a large person with an 'expanded' waistline, Broadhead, which may have been the origin of 'big head,' but may equally have applied to a man with above average knowledge, and Broadribb, a name for a large or probably strong, man.The medieval times were when most modern surnames were created, but as this is now some seven centuries back, and as the English language has changed quite remarkably in that period, modern interpretations may not be the same as when the name was originally bestowed. In this case the surname is first recorded in the pipe rolls of Cumberland in 1156 with that of Turgis Bradfot, and later that of Roger Brodfot in the Assize Court rolls of the county of Befordshire in the year 1247.
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