This interesting name derives from the personal name "Brice", which was Latinized as "Bricius". The name is thought to be of Celtic origin, and was borne by a 5th Century Gaulish saint, nephew of Saint Martin, Bishop of Tours. The name was consequently popular in France during the early Middle Ages, and was introduced into England and Scotland by followers of William the Conqueror after the Norman Invasion of 1066. One Bricius judex was recorded in the Register of the Abbey of Aberbrothoc (Scotland), circa 1189, and a Bricius de Kyrkebi was recorded in 12th Century Social and Economic Documents of London. The surname from this source first appears in the early half of the 13th Century (see below). One Thomas Brice, who died in 1570, was described as a "martyrologist", having published a list of martyrs in England from 1555 to 1558. On September 26th 1685 a John Brice appeared on a list of rebels to be transported to the Barbados. A Coat of Arms granted to a family of the name is a silver shield with a red fretty over all a silver cross, all within a black bordure charged with eight silver cinquefoils. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Brice, which was dated 1240, in the "Fine Court Rolls of Essex", 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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