This picturesque and interesting surname is of Scandinavian and Irish origin, and is a variant form of Kirkbride, a locational name from a place so called in Cumbria. The derivation is from the Old Norse, Old Swedish "kirkia", a church, with the Old Irish "Brigit", thus the church of St.Bride, a pet form of the above personal name, a 6th Century saint. Kirkbride is near Wigton in Cumbria, and is first recorded in the Pipe Rolls of 1163 as "Chirchebrid", and in 1189 as "Kirkebride". It is interesting to note that some miles away, near Cockermouth, Cumbria, is a small place called Bridekirk, with of course, the identical derivation. People leaving their villages to seek work, would often adopt the placename as a means of identification, thus resulting in a wide dispersal of the name. Among the recordings in London is the christening of one, Elizabeth Kirkbright on the 15th of January 1698, at St. Andrews, Holborn.Richard de Kirkebryd, The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of 1274, "Introduction to the Survey of English Placenames", Cumbria, which was dated King Edward 1, "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272-1307. during the reign of Richard de Kirkebryd. 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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