Recorded as Brave, Bravey, Bravy, Bravery, Bravo and Bravi, this unusual surname is English, but of probably Spanish or Portuguese and ultimately Roman (Latin) origins. If so then it was probably introduced into the British Isles during the medieval period when links between England and Portugal were very close. The literal meaning is "one who is fierce", and as such it was probably a descriptive nickname for a soldier or sailor. The development is from the word "bravo", the modern spelling being a form of patronymic or diminutive implying son of Bravo, or Little Bravo. There are a number of continental coats of arms for the surname in Spain, Italy and Holland. The name recordings in Britain include the following examples - Elizabeth Bravy christened at the church of All Hallows the Less, in the city of Londoon, on August 3rd 1578, John Brave, christened at St Botolpsh without Bishopgate, on July 15th 1608, John Bravey, who married Elizabeth Galle at St Mary le Bone, on April 10th 1694, Susannah Bravery who married Jonathan Greek at St. Dunstans in the East, Stepney, on August 27th 1760. 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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