This famous surname as Browne is much associated with Ireland. It originates from the Olde English, Norse-Viking, and Anglo-Saxon pre 7th century word "brun". It was originally a nickname for either a person of brown hair or complexion, and possibly nationalistic or tribal,or for one who habitually wore brown clothing. If the latter, the nickname may refer to a member of a holy order, many of whom wore brown as a sort of uniform. By the 10th century "Brun" had become a popular baptismal name throughout mainland Britain, and as such is recorded in the 1086 Domesday Book. The first surname recordings are about a century later at the very begining of surname creation, making it one of the most ancient on the listings. Amongst the early recordings of interest are those of Anthony Browne, the 1st Lord Montague (1526 - 1592), whilst in Ireland the Galway Browne's, the Lords Oranmore, are descendants of a 12th Century Anglo-Norman invader called "Le Brun", and the Brownes of Killarney, the Lords Kenmare, are descended from an Elizabethan settler. Amongst the very earliest of settlers to the new colonies of America was Edward Browne, who emigrated to Virginia from London in September 1635. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William le Brun, which was dated 1169, in the Northumberland county pipe rolls. This was during the reign of King Henry ll of England, known as "The church builder", 1154 - 1189.
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