This interesting surname is of early medieval English origin, and is a locational name from a place thus called in Kent. Recorded as "Gromenebregge" in 1239, the placename has as its latter element the Middle English "brigge", from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brycg", bridge, preceded by the Middle English "grom(e)", boy, servant, which in some places was specialized to mean "shepherd". Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. The surname, with variant spellings Grombridge, Groomebridge, and Grumbridge, is particularly well recorded in Church Registers of South East England from the mid 16th Century (see below). On October 21st 1599, John Groombridge and Clemance Bourne were married in Tonbridge, Kent. An interesting bearer of the name was Stephen Groombridge (1755 - 1832), the renowned astronomer, whose work "A Catalogue of Circumpolar Stars" (among them Number 1,830, first observed by himself) was published in 1838. The family Coat of Arms is a silver shield with three gold inescutcheons, bordured red. A garb or sheaf of wheat, and thereon perched a crow all proper, emerging from a mural coronet, forms the Crest. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Groomebridge, which was dated September 30th 1546 , witness at a christening at Frant, Sussex, 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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