This very interesting surname found recorded as Brother, or the patronymic, Brothers, and in Cornwall, at least it was originally 'Brethers', may not be what it seems. From the 13th century onwards it is generally accepted to be a 'Guild' surname, and as such may be said to be a medieval predecessor of the term 'Brother' as applied to a member of certain associations and unions. The earliest recordings of the name may be personal endearment names or occupational, and as such several examples are recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. Taken at random these include 'Broder of Stafford' and 'Brodre of Devon', but whether they describe a member of the church, or something quite different, is not clear. Other early examples include Willelmus filius Brother, in the 1202 Assize Rolls of Lincoln, and this is quite clear that 'Brother' was the father of Willelmus (!), although Nicholas Le Bruthre in the 1279 Assize Rolls of Somerset, would certainly seem to point to some occupation. Later examples taken from early church registers after the 1535 'Reformation', include Thomas Brothers, who married Elizaeth Brewett at St Giles Cripplegate, London, on August 4th 1583, Humfry Brethers, who married Margaret Hicks, at Bodmin, Cornwall, on June 27th 1594, and John Brother, who married Dorrythy Marshall at the church of St Nicholas Acons, London, on February 28th 1632. The coat of arms associated with the surname has the blazon of per pale red and black, on a fesse between three griffins heads erased in gold, as many ermine lozenges. The crest is a demi black greyhound holding a red dart. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Brother, which was dated 1272, the Ancient Deeds roll of the county of Middlesex, 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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