This unusual surname has two distinct possible sources, each with its own history and derivation. In the first instance, Breeze originated as a nickname for a particularly lively or irksome person, from the Middle English "breese", a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century "breosa", gadfly. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a widespread practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to a variety of personal characteristics; mental, moral, and physical. One William Brese was noted in the 1275 Records of the Manor of Wakefield, Yorkshire. Breeze may also be a patronymic of the Old Welsh personal name "Ris" or "Rhys" meaning "ardour, fiery warrior". Recorded as "Hris" in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle, dated 1052, and as "Rees" in the Domesday Book of 1086, this name was borne by the last ruler of an independent kingdom of Wales, Rhys ap Tewder, who died in 1093 unsuccessfully opposing the Norman advance. One William Res and a John Rees were recorded in Lincolnshire and Suffolk in 1203 and 1288, respectively. The forms Breese and Breeze result from the fusion of the Welsh patronymic prefix "ap, ab" with the personal name. A Coat of Arms granted to the Brees(e) or Breeze family is a blue shield with a silver lion rampant, the Crest being a gold stag standing at gaze. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Roger Brese, which was dated 1210, in the "Pipe Rolls of Norfolk", during the reign of King John, known as "Lackland", 1199 - 1216. 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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