Recorded as Brew, an Isle of Man version, Brewer and Brewster, this is an English and sometimes Scottish, surname. Of pre 7th century Anglo-Saxon origins it is or rather was, occupational for a brewer of beer or ale. The derivation is from the Olde English pre 7th century verb 'breowan', meaning to brew, that became in medieval English 'brewere'. Until the 14th century, Brewster was the feminine equivalent of Brewer, although after that date the term was used equally for male and female brewers. Early examples of recordings include Roger Breuestere, of Suffolk, in 1221, and Emma le Breustere, in the Hundred Rolls of Berkshire, in 1279. On April 2nd 1553 Edward Brewster, was christened at St. Andrew's, Enfield, in Middlesex, whilst John Brew was recorded in Douglas, Isel of Man. An interesting namebearer was William Brewster (1560 - 1644) of Scrooby, Nottinghamshire. He sailed for Virginia aboard the Mayflower in 1620, and founded New Plymouth, (New England), where he worked as a teacher and preacher. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Briwerra, which was dated 1192, in the register of Ancient Charters of Hampshire, during the reign of King Richard 1st known as 'The Lionheart', 1189 - 1199. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes known as the 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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