Recorded in several forms including Brewen, Brewin, Bruan, Brune, the diminutives Brewin and Brewing and the patronymic Brewins, this is an English surname. Dating from the 12th century and the very beginings of surnames, it is probably job-descriptive. If so it derives from the Olde English pre 7th century word "breowan", meaning to brew, and a brewer or sometimes the son of a brewer, and where appropriate the suffix being a short form of "-kin", plus the secondary suffix '-s', itself a shortened version of 'son'. There is also a further possible meaning, in that the Olde English-Gaels-Celts were very keen on descriptive nicknames, particularly those based upon personal appearance, and it is possible that in some instances the name may be a patronymic based upon "brun", meaning "the brown faced (or haired) one". An example here would be those of Hugh le Brun of Suffolk in 1273, or Johanna la Brune, of the same date and county. Later examples include: Thomas Bruynne, a witness at the Church of St. Mary Somerset, in the city of London, on January 25th 1594; Mary Bruens, christened at St. Katherine by the Tower (of London), on April 4th 1682; and John Brewin, who married Jane Snar at Howden, East Yorkshire, on November 18th 1735. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Richard Briwerra. This was dated 1192, in the "Pipe Rolls of Hampshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. 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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