This very interesting surname recorded in the spellings of Brat, Bratt, and Brate, is Medieval English. It may derive from either Olde English pre 7th century or Danish-Viking pre 10th century origins. The first possibility is from the pre 7th century English word 'brat(te)', which translates as a cloak or pinafore. The medieval surname may have been given to one who manufactured such garments or who habitually wore them! The second possibility is that the name was originally Scandinavian, deriving from the word 'braten' which translates as to roast or to fry. This suggests that the name was occupational, and may have applied to seller of cooked meats. There has also been a suggestion that the name is a derivative of Brit, Bryt or Bret, short forms of 'Breton' or 'Briton'. The latter were the inhabitants of the former kingdom of Strathclyde in Scotland, and now the modern county of the same name, which was inhabited by English speakers. Early examples of the name recordings include Joan Bratt, of Seighford, Stafford, christened there on Match 7th 1562, and Elizabeth Bratt, christened at St Augustines church, Watling Street, London, on May 29th 1573. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Robarte Brat, which was dated January 14th 1538, married at St Antholin's church, London, during the reign of King Henry V111, known as 'Bluff King Hal', 1510 - 1547. 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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