Recorded as Walbridge and Wallbridge, this is an English surname. It is locational from a now "lost" medieval village near the town of Stroud in Gloucestershire. We understand that although not proven, the place name means "Foreigners causeway" and is derived from the pre 7th century Olde English word "weala" meaning a foreigner or specifically a Welshman, and "brigg", an Ancient British word for a causeway or a defensive wall, and much later a bridge. It is estimated that as many as seven thousand villages and even small towns have disappeared from the surface of the British Isles in the last seven centuries as a result of changes in agricultural practices, land drainage, creeping urbanisation, as well as more exotic casues such as the Great Plagues between the 14th and the 18th centuries, continuing coastal erosion, and war. Locational surnames are usually "from" names. That is to say names given to people after they left their original homes to move somewhere else. In this case early examples taken from surviving church records include Richard Walbridge, a christening witness at Holy Trinity, Gloucester, on August 29th 1624, Richard Wallbridge who married Elizabeth Elliotts as St Nicholas Gloucester, on June 21st 1640, and Charles Walbridge, baptised at St. Nicholas Liverpool, on July 1st 1817. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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