This surname is a late medieval English development of either the pre 7th Century Old English "Broc" or the post Norman Invasion (1066) - also "Broc". However the origins were quite different, the "English" being habitational from one of the many places now called Brook (with or without a prefix or suffix i.e. Brook (Kent), Brooklands (Surrey) etc. The alternative "Broc" (French) describes one who supplies fresh water, a "Broc" being a pitcher or ewer. The earliest recordings relate to the villages "Broc" in Kent, Norfolk and the Isle of Wight all in the Domesday Book (1086), although by 1346, the latter village is recorded as "Broke" and not until circa 1500 as "Brook".Curiously whilst the surname spelling as "Brooke" is found consistently throughout England and yet there is only one place name so spelt, "Brook" is both rarer and more stratified. Furthermore its Stronghold is specifically Yorkshire, and yet there are few "Brook" place names in the North. It is possible that the Northern "Brooks" owe their origins to the Dutch, Flemish "Broek", although the meaning is the same as the English - a water meadow.The name development includes Eustace delbroc (1130) in Northumberland, William de la Broke (1208), Surrey, William atte Bruck (1327) Cambridge, William de la Brooke (1231) Somerset. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Agnes Brook, which was dated November 21st 1541, married John Hall at Dewsbury, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as "Bluff King Hal", 1501 - 1541. 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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