Recorded as Brafield, Brayfeeld, Bayfield, Brafeild, and probably others, this is an English surname. It is locational from one of the villages called Brayfield or Brafield in the counties of Northamptonshire and Berkshire. The place name and hence the later surname means either an area of land (feld) by a hill, or a hill surrounded by a feld. The origination is the pre 7th century Olde English word 'bragen', which curiously means brain, but in a transposed sense as in this case means a hill, or perhaps the top of a hill. Feld does not mean field in the modern sense. It describes an area of land which is unfenced, but one which has been cleared for agriculture. The first recording of the place name is in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, the Northamptonshire village being recorded as 'Bragefelde'. The early surviving church registers of the city of London include examples such as Alyce Brayfelde, who was christened at Christ Church Greyfriars, on February 14th 1546, in the last year of the reign of the dreaded King Henry V111th, and later that of Edward Brayfield at St Sepulchre church, also in the city of London, on October 22nd 1706.
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