This ancient surname, found in the spellings of Brook, Brok, Brock, Broeck, and Broke, is recorded in Germany, where it is sometimes preceded by the aristocratic "von", England, Scotland, France, and Ireland. Wherever found it is of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon (Germanic) origins, and is usually habitational for one who lived at one of the places called Brook or Brock, in both England and Germany, or who lived by a broc(k). This may be either an area of rocky land, or a stream that flooded in winter. In some cases the name is occupational and a metonymic for a person who delivered fresh water, using a stone pitcher called a "broc". A curiosity of the surname spelling is that whilst the spelling form of Brooke is consistently found throughout England, in the form of Brook, which is the (apparent) locational spelling, this spelling predominates only in Yorkshire, where there are no place names of Brook! The surname is one of the earliest recorded and examples include William de la Broke of the county of Surrey in 1208, and Richard Brock of Worcestershire in the Hundred Rolls of that county in 1275. In Germany the earliest recording is probably that of Johan Broker of Kiel in 1367, whilst in Scotland Thomas Bruke was a burgess of Aberdeen in 1488. Later recordings include William Brook, of Rothwell, Yorkshire, in 1540, Johan Gerd Brook of Oerlinshausen in 1731, and Johann von Brook, originally of Bremen, recorded in Isensee, Hannover, Germany, on March 23rd 1827. The first known recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Broc, which was dated 1119, in the Pipe Rolls of the town of Colchester, Essex, during the reign of King Henry 1st of England, known as "The Lion of Justice", 1100 - 1135.
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