Wednesday, January 04, 2012

Surname Broadfoot

 Surname Broadfoot

"The name "Broadfoot" dates back to at least 800 AD, to the Gaelic Celts, before the invasion by the Norse Vikings (and so we have Scandinavian blood as well). The Broadfoot family in Scotland was never a true Scottish “Clan”, and never even a sept of a Clan. The name is found in England also. The name originally was "Bradfute" and later "Braidfoot", means (in Scottish) "the foot of a river or plain" or "foot of hill place,." King William's English census of 1066 shows five Bradfoot families holding land in Yorkshire. The name "Turgis Bradfot" appears in 1157 in the Scottish Pipe Rolls of Cumberland, and Roger Bradfot in 1247 in the Assizes Rolls of Bedfordshire. By 1296, the name appears as "Bradfute", and, by 1379, the names "Bradfotte", "Brodefotte", and "Braydfot" were found in northern England. A fuller description of the origin of the Broadfeet may be found in a book prepared by Rev. James R. Broadfoot for the 1984 Broadfoot Clan Reunion in Seaforth, Ontario.

              “Bradfute, Braidfoot, Broadfoot. Evidently of local origin from some lost place name formerly either in Ayrshire or Dumfriesshire. The opposite is Braidhead (Dumfriesshire). The name is almost identical in meaning with the Gaelic place name Bondriech, "foot of hill place". Marian Bradfute was the wife of Sir William Wallace. Robert Braidfute was the vicar of Dunnyn, 1491. William Bredfut was minister of Falkland, 1593. James Braidfoot was a merchant in Edinburgh in 1611. James Bredfoot was retoured heir in lands in parish of Dunss in 1678. The surname is common in Lanark Commissariot Record. There was an old Cumberland family of Braidfoot. There are records of a Bradfut in 1573, Bradfutt in 1566, Breadfoot in 1639; also Braidfutt, Breadfotte, Bredfute, and Breydfut.”

       The Emperor Charlemagne was the son of Pepin "The Short", King of France, and his wife Bertha Broadfoot of Laon, France, originally from Scotland. Charlemagne's wife was Hildegard, the Schwabian Princess of Vinzgua. One of their children was Louis I, King of France.

       The beautiful Marian Bradfute, daughter of Sir Hugo Brodfute, the Earl of Lamington in 1296, was the wife of Sir William Wallace, son of Malcolm Wallace, the Scottish commoner, hero, and great liberator of Scotland in 1297 (and the hero of the recent movie "Braveheart"). They were secretly married, probably when she was about fourteen years of age, the age of adulthood in Scotland in those times. King Edward Longshanks did not tolerate marriages outside of the Church of England. Contrary to the fiction of the movie, Marion outlived William and gave birth to their daughter. In time, she was murdered by the British. Her daughter lived to adulthood and married into the Baillie Clan, and the lands of Lamington were turned over to the Baileys. That story is detailed in Rev. James Broadfoot's reunion book, pp 9-10. By the way, in 1314, Scotland did win its freedom from England.

       In England, the name became Bradford; in Scotland it became Broadfoot. In 1638, an Agnes Broadfoot lived in Glengarne, Dumphrieshire.

       The modern Broadfoot name is clearly Scottish. Our Broadfoots, only one of many Bradfute families, originated in the Dumfrieshire lowlands region of southwestern Scotland. (In 1259, it was called “Dunfres”, named after the fort on the hill. A hundred years later, it was granted a charter as a city.) The Royal Burgh of Dumfries is the seat of the Nithsdale district of Dumfries, which lies near the border of England on the River Nith, 8 miles from the Solway Firth, an Irish Sea inlet. Robert Burns, the Scottish national poet, lived there from 1791 until his death in 1796.

       Bradfute is a rather common name in Scotland, and has been for quite some time, as well as its derivatives Broadfoot, Braidfoot, and Bradfoot. Did we all descend from the same one way back when? Probably, although the name may have been assigned to a family that lived at the foot of the "broad", and there may have been several or even many families with such a designation. Imagine: "Robert at the foot of the broad", since back in the middle ages they didn't have or use last names.

       It should be noted that Dumfries was the birthplace of bicycling. The bicycle was invented and the first one built by a Dumfries blacksmith in 1839. "

"Hands Across the Sea -- 1834-1984 -- Hands Across the Borders", by Rev. James R. Broadfoot, 1984. This book was written by Rev. Broadfoot in preparation for the 1984 Broadfoot family reunion in Seaforth, Ontario, Canada, and was published privately. It is not available commercially. [Information source: Bill Brobst []

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