This ancient and distinguished name has two distinct origins, each with its own history and derivation. Firstly, the name Brewer may be of Anglo-Saxon origin, and an occupational surname for a brewer of beer or ale, derived from the Olde English pre 7th Century "breowan", to brew, giving the Middle English term "brewere". The modern surname Brewster has the same derivation, but shows the early medieval "-ster", suffix which originally denoted the feminine gender, but by the middle of the 13th Century was used for both sexes. Similar formations include Baker and Baxter, and Webber and Webster. The first recording of the surname from this source is that of Richard Briwerra, in the "Ancient Charters" of Hampshire. The second possible origin of Brewer is from a Norman locational surname, as in the first recording, below, from the place called Bruyere in Calvados, or an Old French topographical name for someone who lived in a place where heather grew; the placename and the topographical term are derived from the Old French "bruyere", heather. One John le Brewer is recorded in the Exchequer Lay Subsidy Rolls for Somerset in 1327. Daniell Brewer, of Dartmouth, Devonshire, was an early emigrant to the New World colonies, leaving Dartmouth in June 1632 for a plantation in New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph de Brueria, which was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of Devonshire, during the reign of King William 1, known as "William the Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. 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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