This ancient name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Woodbridge in Suffolk, near Ipswich. The placename is recorded as "Oddebruge" in the "Saxon Diplomatic Codex" of 1050, and as "Wudebrige" in the Domesday Book of 1086. The name is derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "wudu", wood, with "brycg", bridge, referring to a bridge made of timber or to a bridge near a wood. Locational surnames were used of the lord of the manor and local landowners, and were acquired especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and who were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. One John Woodbridge, of the county of Oxfordshire, is listed in the Register of the University of Oxford for the year 1596, and in July 1635, another John Woodbridge was an early emigrant to the American Colonies, leaving London on the "Assurance" bound for Virginia. One month later his wife Elizabeth sailed on the "George" to join him. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John de Wudebrege, which was dated 1273, in the "Hundred Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Edward 1, 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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