This interesting name is of Old English pre 7th century origins, and is a topographical surname for someone who lived by a piece of land that was newly cultivated, or perhaps in contradiction, a place which was well established with protective fencing or woods! The derivation in either case is from the word 'braec', a derivative of 'brecan', which means 'to break'. Topographical surnames were among the earliest created, since features in the landscape provided easily recognisable reference points for distinguishing people in the small communities of medieval England. The modern surname can be found as Brake, Brach, Bratch, Breache, Breche , Britch etc, and these spellings are also recorded with the added suffix 'er' which describes a dweller 'at' as against one 'from' a particular place. The early records include a wide variety of spelling examples such as Peter de la Brece of Suffolk in 1248, Peter de Brach in Surrey in 1248, and John de Brake in the Hundred Rolls of Norfolk in 1275. Robert Le Brechere of Oxford in 1245 is the first agent suffix. The Coat of Arms is a silver field, a chevron between three black knights spurs, with a crest of a cup containing three roses. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alan de la Brake, which was dated 1176, The Pipe Rolls of Lincolnshire, during the reign of King Henry 111, known as The church builder', 1154 - 1189. 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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