Recorded in a number of spellings including Brain, Brane, Brayne, and Brayn, this interesting Anglo-Scottish surname has two possible origins. The first is locational from a village called Braine in Normandy, and as such was an introduction into England by followers of Duke William of Normandy, otherwise known as "The Conqueror", after his famous Invasion of 1066. Alternatively, the name well recorded in Scotland from the mid 15th century, may be an anglicized form of the Olde Gaelic surname Mac an Bhreitheamham.Here the translation is "The son of the judge", from "Mac" meaning son of, plus the occupational word "breitheamh", a judge. The surname is well recorded in the charters known as the Hundred Rolls of various English counties from the latter half of the 13th Century. This suggests that these names must have origination from the Norman village, whilst in Scotland Thomas Brayne of Baldowy, a witness in 1462, is the first recorded Scottish namebearer, and David Brane appears in the "Book of the Thane of Cowder" in 1477. Other examples include: Roger Brain in the 1601 Scottish Commissariot register, whilst Elizabeth Brain and Philip Green were married at St. Bennet's church, Paul's Wharf, London, on October 15th 1634. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alicia Brayn. This was dated 1273 in the Hundred Rolls of the county of Cambridgeshire, during the reign of King Edward Ist of England, 1272 - 1307. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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