This unusual and interesting name is of early medieval English origin, and is found particularly in the counties of Somerset and Dorset. It is a topographical surname denoting residence near a bridge, derived from the Old English pre 7th Century word 'brycg', bridge, with the typically southern English transposition of the 'u' and 'r'. There are several placenames in various parts of southern England which exemplify this variant, and one William atte Brugge, recorded in the Hertfordshire Hundred Rolls in 1302 lived at 'Burge End'. In some cases 'Burge' may be a variant of 'Burke', which is also topographical and denotes residence by a fort or castle, derived from the Middle English 'bure, burk', a development of the Old English 'burh, burg', fort. The marriage of Thomas Burge and Margaret Chead was recorded at North Petherton, Devonshire, on October 15th 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de la Burge, which was dated 1200, The Hampshire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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