The English name lists are full of extraordinary surnames which have developed from dialectal pronunciation, but this is surely a prime example above the rest. Although it takes some believing, this name originally started out from opposite ends of England as "Broadbent", a locational name for one who dwelt by a broad, grassy, plain. Both in Yorkshire and Kent, the "home" of this name, the origins are Olde English pre 10th Century, the pre-medieval form being "brad beonet". The development to the "modern" spelling would seem to follow these examples: William Broadbent, of Kent, in 1528, to Thomas Brodbente, who married Elysabethe Clarke at the Church of St. Lawrence Pountney, London, on April 22nd 1609, to John Broadbin, a christening witness at the Church of St. George in the East, on August 27th 1734. In Yorkshire, Jacobus Brodbene was christened in Elland on October 27th 1650, whilst on December 20th 1717, Maria Brodben was christened at Almondbury. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert Broadebent, which was dated 1513, in the "Friary Rolls of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1509 - 1547. 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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