This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a habitational name from a minor place so called, perhaps from Broadhurst Manor Farm in Horsted Keynes, Sussex. The placename is derived from the Middle English (1200 - 1500) "brode", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brad", meaning broad, given as a nickname for a stout or fat person, and the Olde English "hurst", a wooded hill. The first element could also be a descriptive term for the broad wood. In the Middle Ages, to call a person broad or fat was considered to be a compliment, as it was looked on as a sign of grandeur. The surname, however, could also be locational from one of the seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets which have disappeared in Britain since circa 1100, due to such natural disasters as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or to the widespread practice of "clearing" large areas of land to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade in the 15th Century. The place is thought to have been in Cheshire, due to the large number of recordings in this county, and the name has the same derivation as the place in Sussex. Recorded in the Cheshire Church Registers is the marriage of John Broadhurst and Alice Wood, on October 8th 1594, at Prestbury. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger de Brodhurst, which was dated 1281, witness in the "Assize Rolls of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1271 - 1307. 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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