This very interesting and unusual name is of early medieval English origin, and is an occupational surname for a private clerk, a writer of 'brevets' for his master. The name derives from the Middle English, Old French word 'brevet', a diminutive of 'bref', a note, letter, specifically an official or authoritative message in writing, used especially of Papal indulgences. The surname, found in the modern forms of Brevitt, Breffit, Breffitt and Brevetor, was also used as a metonymic occupational name for a bearer of such messages or indulgences. The surname development includes Walter le Brefeter (1285, Essex), Joan Breftour (1327, ibid.) and John Brevet (1357, ibid.). The marriage of Elizabeth Brevitt and John Grosevyner was recorded at St. Nicholas, Cole Abbey, London, on January 1st 1648. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander Brevetur, which was dated 1221, in the "Early Episcopal Records of Ely, Cambridgeshire", during the reign of King Henry 111, known as '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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