This interesting surname is of Anglo-Saxon and Old French origin, and has two possible sources. Firstly, it can be from a metonymic occupational name for a maker or seller of armour, specifically armour designed to protect the upper arms, derived from the Middle English (1200-1500) "brace" from the Old French "brace", the (two) arms, itself coming from the Latin "bracchia", the plural form of "bracchium", meaning arm. Secondly, it can be from a metonymic occupational name for a maker of breeches, or a nickname meaning "Breeches", derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "brec", breeches. The name could also be locational from a place called Brace, a parish in the diocese of Hereford, in Shropshire. The surname is found as Brass in the Northumberland area, but Brace is the more popular form. Recorded in London Church Registers is the christening of John, son of John Brace, on March 21st 1587 at St. Botolph without Aldgate. A Coat of Arms granted to a Brace family is black a silver bend between three dexter hands couped proper. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Nicholas de Bras, which was dated 1272, in the "Hundred Rolls of Buckinghamshire", during the reign of King Edward 1st, "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.
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