This notable northern name is of Old Norse and Anglo-Saxon origin, and is a locational surname deriving from the place called Brighouse near Halifax in West Yorkshire. The placename is recorded in the Yorkshire Feet of Fines of 1240 as "Brighuses", and means "the houses by the bridge", from the Old Norse "bryg(gia)", bridge, with the Olde English pre 7th Century "hus", house. Brighouse is on the Calder river where it is crossed by an ancient road. Locational surnames, such as this, were acquired by the lord of the manor, and local landowners, and especially by those former inhabitants of a place who had moved to another area, usually in search of work, and were thereafter best identified by the name of their birthplace. Examples of the surname from Yorkshire Church Registers include: the marriage of Agnes Bryghouse and Ricus Northend, in Halifax, on January 16th 1541; the christening of Elizabeth, daughter of Thomas Bridgehouse, also in Halifax, on October 28th 1546; and the marriage of Johannes Brighouse and Johanna Gleidell on January 26th 1572, at Elland. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name depicts, on a black shield, on a gold fesse three black crescents, between three gold lions rampant. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Johannes de Brighous', which was dated 1379, in the "Poll Tax Returns of Yorkshire", during the reign of King Richard 11, known as "Richard of Bordeaux", 1377 - 1399. 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.