This interesting name is of Anglo-Saxon origin and has two possible interpretations. The first of these is topographical and is a surname denoting residence by or at a briar patch, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "braer" or "brer", briar, prickly thorn-bush, in Middle English "brere". Topographical surnames were among the earliest to be created since the natural or man-made features of the landscape by a person's home, made an obvious distinguishing name. The second possible origin is from a medieval nickname for a touchy, "prickly" person, from the same derivation as above used in a transferred sense. The modern name has a number of variants, from Brear(e), Brier(s) to Briar(s). John Betteley and Elizabeth Brier(s), were married at St. Georges, Hanover Square, London, in 1780. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter le Brer, which was dated 1255, The Shropshire Hundred Rolls, during the reign of King Henry III, The Frenchman, 1216 - 1272. 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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