This surname BRIGGEN was a locational name 'of Brigham' a spot in County Cumberland. Local names usually denoted where a man held his land, and indicated where he actually lived. The name was derived from the Old English 'brycgham' meaning literally, the dweller by the bridge. The name was originally derived from the Old English word BRYCG. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. The earliest of the name on record appears to be Bringeham (without surname) who was listed as a tenant in 1086 in the Domesday Book. Edward Briggen was documented in County Cumberland in the year 1273, and William Bringam of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire Poll Tax of 1379. During the Middle Ages, when people were unable to read or write, signs were needed for all visual identification. For several centuries city streets in Britain were filled with signs of all kinds, public houses, tradesmen and even private householders found them necessary. This was an age when there were no numbered houses, and an address was a descriptive phrase that made use of a convenient landmark. At this time, coats of arms came into being, for the practical reason that men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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