This unusual surname is of Old Scandinavian origin, and is a locational name from a place in the borough of Southport, Lancashire, called Birkdale. Recorded as "Birkedale" in the Cockersand Chartulary, dated circa 1200, the place was so called from the Old Norse "birki", birch grove, with the Old Norse "dalr", Old Danish "dal", valley; hence, "valley of the birch groves". Placenames ending in -dal and -dale are most frequent in the Old Scandinavian districts, and mostly contain either "dalr" or "dal" (as above), as the Old English pre 7th Century "dael", valley, was not a common word. Locational surnames, such as this, were originally given to local landowners, and the lord of the manor, and especially as a means of identification to those who left their birthplace to settle elsewhere. Regional and dialectal differences subsequently gave rise to several variations on the original spelling of the name, which, in the modern idiom, is found as Brigdale, Brickdall, Brickdale and Birkdale. On March 8th 1560, Richarde Brickdale, an infant, was christened at Westbury-on-Trym, Gloucestershire. A Coat of Arms granted to the Brickdale family of Somersetshire and Gloucestershire, originally of Lancashire, is an azure shield with a gold chevron between three sheaves of five arrows, flighted and pheoned silver, pointed and banded red. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Brickdale, which was dated 1298, in "Medieval Records of Lancashire", during the reign of King Edward 1, known as "The Hammer of the Scots", 1272 - 1307. 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.