This is an English locational surname, of spelling forms which include Tonbridge, Tunbridge, Tumbridge, Tembridge, Timbridge, and several others as well. The name does derive from the place called 'Tonebridge' (now Tonbridge) as recorded in the 1086 Domesday book for county Kent, and as 'Thunnebrigg' in the 1230 Assize Court rolls for the same county. Indeed the latter spelling, occurring when it did at the beginning of the surname creation period, would seem to have had a distinct influence on the future development of the surname. Tunbridge and Tumbridge, the latter being a dialectal spelling error developed from the distinct Kent-Sussex language of the Middle English period, being the most popular surname spellings. It is claimed that the town name derives from the Olde English personal name 'Thunnr', plus 'brygg' meaning a causeway, but a more logical explanation taken from the Domesday Book recording would suggest 'the causeway where tolls were paid'. Early examples of the surname recording include Salomon de Tonebrigg in the 1273 Hundred Rolls of Essex, whilst on April 12th 1547, Alice Tunbridge married James West in London, apparently by civil licence. Other recordings include George Tumbridge, who married Agnes Grenhill at Harrow on the Hill, Middlesex, on October 30th 1581, and John Tonbridge, the son of Edwarde Tonbridge, christened at Shipbourne, Kent, on March 18th 1599. An interesting entry, and possibly that of a (near) non conformist, at least on the wife's side, was that of Needful Tonbridge, the daughter of Robert and Charity Tonbridge, christened at St Dunstans in the West, London, on May 4th 1825. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robert de Tonebrugg, which was dated 1273, in the Hundred Rolls of the City of London, during the reign of King Edward 1st, known as 'The hammer of the Scots', 1272 - 1307. 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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