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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Origins Available: English-Alt, English

Where did the English Bridges family come from? What is the English Bridges family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bridges family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bridges family history?

The distinguished surname Bridges emerged among the industrious people of Flanders, which was an important trading partner and political ally of Britain during the Middle Ages. As a result of the frequent commercial intercourse between the Flemish and English nations, many Flemish migrants settled in Britain. In early times, people were known by only a single name. However, as the population grew and people traveled further afield, it became increasingly necessary to assume an additional name to differentiate between bearers of the same personal name. The manner in which hereditary surnames arose is interesting. Local surnames are derived from where the original bearer lived, was born, or held land. Flemish surnames of this type frequently are prefixed by de la or de le, which mean of the or from the. The Bridges family originally lived near a bridge. The surname is derived from the Old English word brycg, which means bridge, and was sometimes also applied as an occupational name to a bridge-keeper. The name Bridges is occasionally derived from residence in Bruges, a town in Flanders.

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Flemish surnames are characterized by a large number of spelling variations. One reason for this is that medieval English lacked definite spelling rules. The spellings of surnames were also influenced by the official court languages, which were French and Latin. Names were rarely spelled consistently in medieval times. Scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded, rather than adhering to specific spelling rules, and people often had their names registered in several different forms throughout their lives. One of the greatest reasons for change is the linguistic uniqueness of the Flemish settlers in England, who spoke a language closely related to Dutch. The pronunciation and spelling of Flemish names were often altered to suit the tastes of English-speaking people. In many cases, the first, final, or middle syllables of surnames were eliminated. The name has been spelled Bridge, Bridges, Briddge and others.

First found in Somerset where there is evidence of a family of this name from Bruges of Flemish origin. These Bruges, or Bridges settled mostly in the south west counties of Somerset, Gloucestershire and later Hereford. One of the first listings of the name was of Robert atte Brugge and William atte Brugge who resided in Gloucester during the reign of King Edward III (1327-until his death.) A few years later, Giles Bruges (Brydges) had his manor of Archer-Stoke in Gloucestershire seized during the reign of King Edward IV (1461-1470.) [1]


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bridges research. Another 241 words(17 lines of text) covering the years 1427, 1493, 1462, 1511, 1497, 1491, 1557, 1548, 1594, 1578, 1617, 1552, 1602, 1620, 1655, 1642, 1714, 1564, 1639, 1714, 1682, 1683, 1683, 1685, 1702, 1714 and 1646 are included under the topic Early Bridges History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Another 307 words(22 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Bridges Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Bridges family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 49 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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In the immigration and passenger lists were a number of people bearing the name Bridges

Bridges Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • Henry Bridges, who landed in Virginia in 1622
  • Henry Bridges settled in Virginia in 1623
  • William Bridges settled in Plymouth in 1623
  • Thomas Bridges, who arrived in Virginia in 1623
  • Tho Bridges, who arrived in Virginia in 1635


Bridges Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century


  • Geo Bridges, who arrived in Virginia in 1703
  • Jno Bridges, who arrived in Virginia in 1724
  • John Bridges, who landed in America in 1740
  • Daniel Bridges settled in Jamaica in 1774

Bridges Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century


  • Anne Bridges, who arrived in New York, NY in 1816
  • Mr. Bridges, who arrived in San Francisco, California in 1850
  • Calvin Bridges, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • OS Bridges, who landed in San Francisco, California in 1851
  • Eliza Bridges, who arrived in Mississippi in 1856


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  • Jeffrey Leon "Jeff" Bridges (b. 1949), four-time Academy Award-nominated American actor and musician as well as recipient of a golden globe award
  • Lloyd Bridges (1913-1998), American actor who starred in television series, and appeared in more than 150 films
  • Everett Lamar "Rocky" Bridges (b. 1927), American former baseball player
  • Roy Dubard Bridges Jr. (b. 1943), former NASA Astronaut with over 7 days in space
  • Edward Ettingdene Bridges (1892-1969), English civil servant, created 1st Baron Bridges in 1957
  • Thomas Edward Bridges (b. 1927), English diplomat, 2nd Baron Bridges, British Ambassador to Italy (1983-1987)
  • Michael Bridges (b. 1978), English footballer
  • Robert Seymour Bridges OM (1844-1930), English poet, Poet Laureate (1913-1930)
  • Keith "Bridgie" Bridges (1929-2014), professional rugby league footballer of the 1950s, and '60s


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The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.

Motto: Je garderay
Motto Translation: I watch over.

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  1. ^ Bardsley, C.W, A Dictionary of English and Welsh Surnames: With Special American Instances. Wiltshire: Heraldry Today, 1901. Print. (ISBN 0-900455-44-6)

Other References

  1. Burke, Sir Bernard. Burke's Genealogical and Heraldic History of the Landed Gentry: Including American Families with British Ancestry. (2 Volumes). London: Burke Publishing, 1939. Print.
  2. Ingram, Rev. James. Translator Anglo-Saxon Chronicle 1823. Print.
  3. Burke, Sir Bernard. General Armory Of England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales. Ramsbury: Heraldry Today. Print.
  4. Humble, Richard. The Fall of Saxon England. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1975. Print. (ISBN 0-88029-987-8).
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Bede, The Venerable. Historia Ecclesiatica Gentis Anglorum (The Ecclesiastical History Of the English People). Available through Internet Medieval Sourcebook the Fordham University Centre for Medieval Studies. Print.
  7. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  8. Reaney P.H and R.M. Wilson. A Dictionary of English Surnames. London: Routledge, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-415-05737-X).
  9. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin . Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8).
  10. Browning, Charles H. Americans of Royal Descent. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing. Print.
  11. ...

The Bridges Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bridges Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.

This page was last modified on 26 August 2014 at 11:58.

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