Derived from the Olde French surname 'Briffaut', this is a genuine French Huguenot name first recorded in the early years of the 17th Century. There are (were) several spellings, the 'link' with the modern spelling being as an example, Joan Brefate who married David Watkin at Uxbridge Church on November 24th 1834. The meaning of the name is believed to be a metonymic for a messenger or courier, and clearly the name was held in high standing as Coats of Arms were originally granted to the 'Briffauts' of Austria, a family originating from France. The surname development in England includes Brifitt (1716), Brefitt (1799), Briffett (1751), Briffitt (1835) and Breffett (1824). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Susanne Briffaut, which was dated June 22nd 1617, christened at the French Huguenot Church, London. during the reign of King James I of England and VI of Scotland, 1603 - 1625. 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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