This very unusual surname is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is habitational from some minor unrecorded, or "lost" place believed to have been situated in the midland region, due to the prevalence of church recordings of the surname in this area. 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 derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th Century "streaw", meaning straw or rushes, and "brygg", a causeway or raised track. The ancient British created roads across marshland with interlaced rush bundles and this would seem to be the origin. The term as "Bridge" is of Roman origins, they being the first "Bridge" builders, in the modern meaning. Recordings from English Church Registers include the christening of Hollioak Strawbridge at St. Mary's, Kensington, London, in 1640, and the marriage of Mary Strawbridge and Samuel Bell on October 13th 1839, at Manchester Cathedral, Lancashire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Strawbridge, which was dated January 22nd 1591, christened at St. Dunstan's Church, Stepney, London, 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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