This interesting surname is of topographical origin for a "dweller by the broad wood", composed of the Old English pre 7th Century elements "brad" meaning broad or wide plus "wudu" a wood or forest. Topographical names are derived from general descriptive references to people who lived near physical features such as trees, hills and streams, as well as to man-made structures such as churches, walls, and castles. The surname is first recorded in the latter half of the 13th Century, (see below). Recordings of the surname from the English church registers include; the marriage of Elizabeth Broadwood to William Phillipson, on April 25th 1681, at Chorley, Lancashire; John Broadwood married Catherine Raw, on July 27th 1707, at St. Mary le Bow, London; on November 12th 1715, Martha Broadwood married Trevor Webb, at St. Mary Magdalene, Old Fish Street, London; and Sarah, daughter of William Broadwood, was christened on November 2nd 1721, at All Saints, Wakefield, Yorkshire. A famous namebearer being, John Broadwood (1732-1812), a pianoforte manufacturer. His first patent for a "new constructed pianoforte" was dated 1783, and his firm rapidly acquired a European reputation. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Brodwode, which was dated 1274, Hundred Rolls of Somerset, during the reign of King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 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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