What is the origin of the last name Bradley?

The last name Bradley derives from the Old English personal name "Broad-ley," meaning a clearing in a broad wood or meadow. This surname is of locational origin and was originally given to individuals who resided near or owned land in a place called Broadley. Over time, the name was anglicized to Bradley, and variations such as Bradly, Bradlie, and Bradleigh also emerged.

Countries of origin for the last name Bradley

The last name Bradley is of English origin and is derived from a common English place name. The surname originated from the Old English words “brad” meaning “broad” or “wide,” and “leah” meaning “wood” or “clearing.” Therefore, the name Bradley can be interpreted to mean “broad wood” or “wide clearing.” This suggests that the name may have originally been used to describe someone who lived near or in a large wooded area or a spacious clearing.

The surname Bradley has been recorded in various spellings throughout history, including Bradelegh, Bradely, Bradlay, and Bradlie. This variation in spelling is not uncommon for English surnames, as standardized spelling conventions were not firmly established until much later. The surname Bradley is relatively common in England, particularly in the counties of Lancashire, Yorkshire, and Staffordshire.

Historical records indicate that the Bradley surname dates back to at least the 13th century. The earliest recorded instance of the name can be found in the Hundred Rolls of 1273, which lists a William de Bradleg residing in Staffordshire. Over the centuries, individuals bearing the surname Bradley have made notable contributions in various fields.

The popularity of the surname Bradley has spread beyond England, reaching other English-speaking countries such as the United States. The surname, along with its variants, can be found among the early American settlers, with records indicating that individuals named Bradley arrived in the American colonies as early as the 17th century.

Given the significance of the Bradley surname in genealogy, it is not surprising that many families with this last name have taken an interest in uncovering their ancestral roots. Genealogical research and DNA testing have allowed individuals with the Bradley surname to trace their lineage and connect with distant relatives.

While the meaning and history of the Bradley surname have been established to a certain degree, there are still aspects that remain uncertain. For instance, further research could delve deeper into the specific locations or landscapes associated with the name, shedding more light on its original context and meaning.

The Bradley surname, with its English origins and connection to place names, offers a glimpse into the history and heritage of individuals bearing this last name. Understanding the etymology and historical significance of surnames allows us to appreciate our own roots and the narratives of those who came before us.

Interesting facts about the last name Bradley

  • The surname Bradley is of English origin.
  • It is derived from the Old English personal name “Braedlic” which means “broad meadow.”
  • The first recorded instance of the surname Bradley dates back to the 12th century in Yorkshire, England.
  • Bradley is a fairly common surname in the English-speaking world.
  • Notable individuals with the surname Bradley include American politician Bill Bradley, British novelist Marion Zimmer Bradley, and American actor Bradley Cooper.
  • The Bradley name has also been associated with several places, including towns and villages, such as Bradley in Hampshire, England and Bradley in California, USA.
  • Bradley is often used as a given name as well, particularly in the United States.
  • The popularity of the surname Bradley has been attributed to the strong association with the desirable qualities of a broad meadow, symbolizing prosperity and abundance.
  • The name Bradley can be found across various professions, including artists, musicians, athletes, and business people.

Name Rank


There are around 136720 people with the last name Bradley in the US

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