Recorded in many forms as shown below, this is a surname French-Flanders origin. In nearly all cases it was locational for a person from the duchy of Brabant, formerly part of France, which was divided up when Belgium became an independent country in 1830. Today Belgian holds the provinces of Antwerp and Brabant, whilst North Brabant became part of The Netherlands. The placename derives from the word "brabant", meaning a plough, the region being famous for its productive agricultural lands as well as its textile industry. Many Brabants came to England in early medieval period, and taught their skills to the English both in cloth making and agriculture, particularly land drainage. The name holders are good examples of locational surnames, which developed when former inhabitants of a country or a place moved to another area, usually to seek work, and were best identified by the name of their birthplace. Of the many who came to England Heliseus de Brabayn is noted in the Hundred Rolls of Lincolnshire, in 1275, and Richard Brabyn was a Freeman of York in 1549. In the modern idiom the surname can be found as Braban, Brabant, Braben, Brabin, Brabon, Brabyn, Brabban, Brabben, Brabbins, Brabham and Brabender. The latter actually means of person who lives at Brabant, and is the opposite of most of the rest. A coat of arms granted to a family in England has the blazon of a silver shield charged with three gold leopards' faces on a red fesse. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Richard Braban. This was dated 1260, in the Assize Court rolls of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Henry 111rd, 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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