This is often regarded as being a Lancashire surname, but this is a misnomer, at least as regard s the origins.In fact Washbrook derives almost entirely from East Anglia. The three places called Washbrook are in Suffolk, Somerset, and Lancashire, all are Olde English in origin and all have the same meaning of the stream (broc) through the marshy land (waesse). The surname was originally only associated with Suffolk (see below) but over the centuries the name travelled widely suggesting that at some point the Suffolk village suffered from 'clearance'. This type of locational surname usually developed when a person, voluntarily or otherwise, left the original village, taking or being given as their surname, that of the their old village name. This often lead to some remarkable spelling forms, but Washbrook seems to have retained its purity of spelling except in the early London records. The first known village recording was in 1198 (Suffolk), the surname being in the same area implies that the name holder was the Lord of the Manor. Other recordings include Margaret Wasshebrook in the 1374 rolls of Colchester, Essex, whilst Richard Wheshebrook is recorded in the register of St Mary The Virgin, Aldermanbury, London, on April 21st 1557, in the reign of 'Bloody' Mary, 1554 - 1558. Another recording is that of Alice Washbrook, who married William Parker at the famous church of St Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on December 1st 1625. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Wassebroc, which was dated 1202, The subsidy rolls of Suffolk County, during the reign of King John, known as 'Lackland', 1199 - 1216. 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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