This unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and has two distinct possible derivations. Firstly, it may belong to that sizeable group of early European surnames that were gradually created from the habitual use of nicknames, given with reference to a variety of personal characteristics, physical, mental and moral, or to habits of dress and occupation. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brad", broad, wide, with "heafod", head; hence, "Broad Head". It is possible that the second element may be the Old Scandinavian "hofud, hoved", for the Olde English "heafod", head, or the Olde English "hod", hood, and William Brodhod, noted in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Derbyshire, may have acquired the nickname from the habitual wearing of a broad hood.The second possibility is that the name is topographical from residence by a broad or extensive headland, deriving from the Olde English "brad" and "heafod" (as above). Early examples of the surname from this source include: Henry de Bradeheved (Staffordshire, 1272); Alan del Brodeheued (Lancashire, 1332), and Robert de Bradehed (Staffordshire, 1332). On August 25th 1624, Samuell Broadhead and Elianor Tovy were married at St. Gregory by St. Paul, London. The family Coat of Arms is a red shield, on a silver bend three cinquefoils of the field, over all a fesse enhanced gold. A garb (sheaf of wheat) proper on a chapeau, forms the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Bradheuid, which was dated 1243, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Durham", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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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