This unusual name is of Anglo-Saxon origin, and is an example of that sizeable group of early surnames that were created from the habitual use of nicknames. These were given in the first instance with reference to a variety of attributes; a person's mental and moral characteristics, physical appearance, supposed resemblance to an animal's or bird's appearance or disposition, or to habits of dress or occupation. In this case, the nickname derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brad", broad, wide, in Middle English "brode", and was given to someone considered to be broad or stout, a large person. There is also a modern surname found as Brading, suggesting that there was an Old English personal name, "Brada", in Middle English "Brade", which may also therefore be a source of the surname Broad. In some instances the name may be topographical in origin, denoting residence "at the broad", a wide place, as in the modern term "the Norfolk Broads". One Gilbert le Brode is recorded in the Essex Feet of Fines of 1235, and Jeames, son of Robert Broad, was christened at St. Martin Vintry, London, on December 19th 1631. A Coat of Arms granted to the Broad family is silver, a black pale in fesse three lozenges counterchanged. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John le Brade, which was dated 1212, in the "Curia Rolls of Kent", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was known as Poll Tax. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.