This interesting surname is of Old French origin, and is a locational name for someone from the duchy of Brabant. Brabant is a former duchy in West Europe, divided when Belgium became independent in 1830, the south forming the Belgian provinces of Antwerp and Brabant and the north forming the province of North Brabant in the Netherlands. The placename is believed to derive from the French "brabant", swivel plough. Locational surnames were developed when former inhabitants of a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Heliseus de Brabayn is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire (1275); John Braton is listed in the 1296 Subsidy Rolls of Sussex; and Richard Brabyn is registered as a Freeman of Yorkshire in 1549. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Braban, Brabant, Braben, Brabin, Brabon, Brabyn, Brabban, Brabben, Brabbins and Brabham. On August 29th 1629, John Brabyn married Jone Atkinson at the Church of St. James' Clerkenwell, London, and the christening of Henricus, son of Gullielmi Brabyn, took place at the Church of Whittington, Lancashire, on December 25th 1633. A Coat of Arms granted to the family depicts three gold leopards' faces on a red fesse humettee on a silver shield. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Braban, which was dated 1260, witness in the "Assize Court Rolls of Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.
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