This ancient surname, dating from the 12th Century, is probably a job-descriptive double patronymic. It derives from the Olde English pre 9th Century "breowan", meaning to brew, and describes the son of a brewer, the suffix being a derived 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", as in Hugh le Brun in 1273, in Suffolk, or Johanna la Brune, of the same date and county. The late medieval records show such spelling forms as Bruen, Bruin, Brewen, Bruyne and Brewing, whilst examples include: Thomas Bruynne, a witness at the Church of St. Mary Somerset, London, on January 25th 1594; Mary Bruens, christened at St. Katherine by the Tower, also in London, on April 4th 1682; and John Brewins, 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, which 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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