This unusual and interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname, deriving from some minor, unrecorded, or now "lost" place called Sho(e)bridge, believed to have been situated in Kent, between Westerham and Tonbridge, due to the prevalence of Church Recordings in that county. An estimated seven to ten thousand villages and hamlets are known to have "disappeared" in Britain since circa 1100, due to such natural disasters as the Black Death of 1348, in which an eighth of the population perished, or to the widespread practice of "clearing" large areas of land to make sheep pastures during the height of the wool-trade in the 15th century. The placename means "the sheltered bridge", possibly a covered bridge, derived from the Olde English pre 7th century "sceo", shelter, shed, and "brygge", bridge. Recordings from English Church Registers include: the christening of Elizabeth Shoobridge in June 1663, at Tonbridge, Kent, and the marriage of John Shoobridge and Ann Kevett at St. Bride's, Fleet Street, London, in September 1656. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Shubridge, which was dated October 9th 1570, marriage to Katheryne Isted, at Edenbridge Church, Kent, 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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