This unusual surname, recorded in the spellings of Brotherwood and Brothwood is of 8th century Anglo-Saxon origin. It is a locational name from some minor, unrecorded or now "lost" place believed to have been situated in East Anglia, or more specifically somewhere between Nottinghamshire and Norfolk. This is an estimation based upon the incidence of early surname recordings from that region. The component elements of the placename are the personal byname "Brothor", found in the Domesday Book of 1086, and denoting either a fellow guild member, one in the same skilled occupation, but more likely a baptismal name of affection. To this has been added the suffix "wudu", meaning a wood or forest. This personal name is also found as a first element in the various villages such as Brothertoft in Lincolnshire, Brotherton in Suffolk and Yorkshire, and Brotherwick in Northumberland. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Examples of recordings taken from the church registers include Ann Brothwood, who married Markes Abraham at St James Clerkenwell, London, on November 19th 1610 whilst on January 22nd 1625, Antony Brotherwood, an infant, was christened at St. Martin at Palace, Norwich, Norfolk. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Brotherwood, which was dated April 26th 1560, marriage to Anna Handcocke, at Gotham, Nottinghamshire, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1, known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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