This very interesting English surname is recorded in a wide range of spellings. These include Braznell, Brasnell, Brucenall, and Brassnells. There appear to be at least two possible origins. The first is locational and from a village such as 'Brauncewell' in the county of Lincolnshire. This villaghe name has been recorded in several spellings including Branzewelle in the famous Domesday Book of 1086, and later in the 12th century as 'Brancewella'. It means 'Brands spring' or possibly 'the spring on the burnt ground', 'Brand' being both a personal name of ancient times, and a word used to describe a place made suitable for agriculture by burning. The second possible origin is job descriptive from the phrase 'brass nail', and as such describing a maker of such items which were particularly used in ship building and coffins. A similar style of surname exists in Horsnall or Horsnail, describing a maker of nails for horse shoes. Brass bolts were used until quite recently in coffin making, but have been largely replaced by plastic versions suitable for cremation. Examples of the surname recordings taken from the surviving early registers of the diocese of Greater London include: Elizabeth Brucenall, who married Daniel Cleave on June 1st 1673 at the famous church of St Mary-le-Bone, James Brassnells, the son of Thomas Brassnells, christened at Putney (church unknown), on December 12th 1739, and Susannah Braznell, the daughter of Joseph and Mary Braznell, christened at St Martins in the Field, Westminster, on November 14th 1772.
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