This rare name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and although it is found chiefly in Yorkshire, it is one of the variant forms of the locational surname Branscombe, from the place so called near Sidmouth in Devonshire. The placename is recorded early, as "Branecescumb", in the Saxon Chartulary of circa 880, and appears in the Domesday Book of 1086 as "Branchescome". The name means "Branoc's valley", derived from the ancient British personal name or byname "Branoc", from "bran", raven, with the Olde English pre 7th Century "cumb", a deep hollow or valley, coomb; this latter element is particularly common in the placenames of the south-west of England.Locational surnames were used especially as a means of identification by those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere, and regional dialectal influences, as well as varying standards of literacy, regularly gave rise to different forms of the original name. In the case of Branscombe, the surname development in Yorkshire has included the following examples: Brownescombe (1544); Bronescombe (1545); Branscombe (1681); Browescombe (1587); Bruscomb (1612); and Browscombe (1681). Among the recordings of the name in Yorkshire Church Registers are the christening of Mary, daughter of James Broscombe, on July 20th 1817, at Birstall, and the marriage of Joseph Broscombe and Sarah Schofield, at St. Peter's, Leeds, on January 30th 1820. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Brouscome, which was dated May 27th 1546, witness to the christening of his son, John, at Shobrooke, Devonshire, 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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