This is a dialectually transposed Northern English locational name 'of Brownrigg' in Cumbria, originally spelt Brownridge. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th century 'brun' meaning 'brown' and 'hrycg' - a ridge, and was originally given to one residing at a brown crest of hills. In the modern idiom the name has two spelling variations: Brownridge and Brownrigg. An interesting name bearer was William Brownrigg (1711-1800), a chemist, who studied medicine at London, M.D. 1737. He made valuable researches into the phenomena of fire-damp and mineral waters. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Helen, daughter of Peter Brownrigge or Browneridge which was dated 1589 Burial Records of St. James Church, Clerkenwell, London during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 Good Queen Bess 1558-1603 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.