Recorded in the spellings of Bromley, Bromiley, and Bramley this is an English locational surname. It derives from the pre 7th Century compound 'brom-leah' translating as the clearing in the broom wood. The yellow broom tree was both popular and pictorial, villages and towns called Bromley being recorded in several parts of England. The first such village recording which predates the original surname by several centuries is that of 'Bromleag' in Kent. This recording appears in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles of the year 862 in reference to Viking raids in the district. The village of Abbotts Bromley in Staffordshire, then Bromleage is first recorded in 1002, as part of the Abbey of Burton. Place names were adopted as an easy means of identifying 'strangers' at a time in the Middle Ages when people were beginning to migrate from their birth places. Early examples of the name recording include Sir John Bromley in the heraldic roll of King Edward 1V in 1461, John Bromley of Elstead in Kent on October 28th 1551, and Elizabeth Bromley who married Nicolas Clifton at St. Mary Abbotts, Kensington, in 1585. The name was also one of the first settler surnames into the new American Colonies. Davie Bromley, aged 15, being a passenger on the ship 'America', which left Gravesend, England, for Virginia on June 23rd 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hubert de Brumle, which was dated 1194, in the Staffordshire Chartularly rolls, during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart, 1189 - 1199". 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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