This interesting and unusual surname, recorded in English church registers from the late 16th Century, under the variant spellings Bracher, Brager, Braker etc., has three distinct possible origins. Firstly, it may have originated as an Anglo-Saxon topographical name from residence by a newly cultivated piece of land named from the time it was first cultivated. The derivation, in this instance, is from the Old English pre 7th Century "breoc", Old High German "brach", land ploughed and prepared for cultivation. One, Peter de la Breche and a Peter de la Brach were recorded in Shropshire and Surrey in 1221 and 1248 respectively. The addition of "-er" denoting "dweller at" to topographical names was particularly common in Sussex, Surrey and Essex. Bragger may also have originated as an occupational name for a master of hunting hounds, from the Medieval English "bra(c)ke", (Old High German "bracho", a hound which hunts by scent. The "-er", in this case, represents the agent suffix i.e. "one who does or works with". Finally, the name may derive from the Medieval English "bragge, lively, brisk originating as a nickname for an active, cheerful person. One, Walter Bragge, witness, was noted in the 1243 "Assize Court Rolls of Somerset". On June 29th 1597 Thomas Bracher, an infant, was christened in Hadstock, Essex, and on November 15th 1692, Thomas, son of John Bragger, was christened in St. Andrew's, Holborn, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Elizabeth Braker, (christening), which was dated September 28th 1567, at Limpsfield, Surrey, during the reign of Queen Elizabeth 1 known as "Good Queen Bess", 1558 - 1603. 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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