This is a famous old locational surname from a village near Pontefract in Yorkshire. The village is first recorded in 1030 as 'Broodertun', and it does appear as if the name literally translates as 'The brothers farm'. Whether this refers to a farm owned by a person called 'Brother', or whether it refers to such a place worked by 'brothers' from a religious order is not clear. The first recording is found in Suffolk, see below, but almost all other early recordings are to be found in the Yorkshire area. These recordings include Thomas de Brotherton (1300 - 1338), the eldest son by his second wife of King Edward 1st. This Thomas de Brotherton was created Earl of Norfolk at the age of twelve and Marshall of England at the age of 18. He became warden of England at the age of nineteen when his brother Edward 11 attempted to invade Scotland in 1319. Somewhat less exalted were Thomas de Brotherton of Norfolk, but not related to the previous entry, and Ricardus and Walterus de Brotherton in the Poll Tax Rolls of Yorkshire in the year 1379. Later recordings are those of Michael Brotherton, who sought a marriage licence to marry Joanna Price in 1624 in London, and Sir Thomas Brotherton, who was appointed aide-de-camp to King William 1V in 1830. Perhaps not surprisingly the original arms of Thomas de Brotherton, and which he carried at the second Dunstable Tournament in 1334 were those of England, three gold lions passant on a red field, with a label of three points for difference. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Brotherton, which was dated 1273, the Hundred Rolls of the county of Norfolk, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as '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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