This unusual name is of Old Scandinavian origin, specifically Old Norse, and dates back to the 8th and 9th Centuries when large areas of northern and north western England were invaded and later settled by Norsemen and Danes. The modern surname Swarbrick is a locational name, deriving from the place so called in the parish of Kirkham, Lancashire. The placename means "Black's hill", derived from the Old Norse byname or nickname "Svartr", meaning "black", with the Old Norse "brekka", slope. Locational surnames, such as these, were usually acquired by a local landowner, or by the lord of the manor, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. The development of the surname in Lancashire has included: Swarbreck (1542); Swartbrecke (1591); Swarthbreake (1621); Swarbrooke (1684); and Swartbreak (1685). The marriage of one Edward Swarbrick to Jenet Kirby was recorded at Kirkham, Lancashire, on June 13th 1603. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Thomas Swarbrick, which was dated September 27th 1541, christened at Kirkham, Lancashire, 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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