Recorded in the spellings of Trowbridge, Troubridge, and Trobridge, this famous surname is locational from the town of 'Trowbridge' in Wiltshire. The placename is first recorded in 1184 in the pipe rolls of the county as 'Trobrigge', and translates as 'the tree bridge' from the Olde English pre 7th Century 'treow', meaning tree, and 'brycg', a bridge. The description probably refers either to a felled tree serving as a rough-and-ready bridge, or more likely a very substantial structure made up of tree trunks, and therefore worthy of a specific description. The surname is forever associated with Sir Thomas Troubridge who served with Lord Nelson at the battles of the Nile and Copenhagen, and who made his name at the battle of Cape St Vincent in 1797. Sadly he was lost at sea in 1804, but his son also Thomas, served with distinction in the later Crimea War of 1854 - 56. Early examples of the surname recordings include William de Trewebrugg, in the subsidy rolls of Worcestershire in 1275, and John de Trowbrugge of Somerset in 1327. Ann Trowbridge married Francis Jersey on the 29th July 1667 at St. George's, Westminster, London, and John Trowbridge was christened at Stourton, Wilstshire in 1731. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter de Trobrigge, which was dated 1184, The Gloucestershire Pipe Rolls, during the reign of King Henry II, The Builder of Churches, 1154 - 1189. 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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