The surname of BRIGHTMORE was a baptismal name 'the son of Brichtmar'. Bricmore was a learned scholar at Oxford in the 14th century, and the name is found again at Oxford in the case of Thomas Brydmer in 1519. Brightmore is the modern form, although the name has always been rare. It was found as Brickmire in the 18th century.
The acquisition of surnames in Europe has been affected by many factors, including social class and social structure. On the whole, the richer and more powerful classes tended to acquire surnames earlier than the working classes and the poor, while surnames were quicker to catch on in urban areas than in rural areas. These facts suggest that the origin of surnames is associated with the emergence of bureaucracies. As long as land tenure, military service, and fealty were matters of direct relationship between a lord and his vassals, the need did not arise for fixed distinguishing epithets to mark out one carl from another. But as societies became more complex, and as such matters as the management of tenure and in particular the collection of taxes were delegated to special functionaries, it became imperative to have a more complex system of nomenclature to distinguish one individual from another.
Other records of the name mention BRIHTMARUS (without surname) who was recorded as a tenant-in-chief in the Domesday Book of 1066. Aedmer Brihtmari filius Bury appears in County Suffolk in the year 1095, and Brichmerus filius Hunne was mentioned in 1193 in County Norfolk. John Brithmar of County Norfolk who was documented in the year 1273, and Harvey Brithnor was recorded in the same year in County Cambridge. In 1422, Thomas Brightmer was the vicar of Thorp Market, County Norfolk, and John Brigtmer was the rector of the same place in the year 1652. Sarah, daughter of Eleanor Brickmire was baptised at St. James's, Clerkenwell, London in 1652. This personal name was originally derived from the Old English BRIHTMAR, and meant 'fair-famous'. It was a personal name common throughout the 12th century. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884.
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