This most interesting and unusual name is of Scottish origin, and is one of the variant, probably "Anglicized" forms of the name Brownswald. The name derives from the Olde English pre 7th Century personal name or byname "Brun", from "brun", brown, referring to the colour of hair or complexion, with "wald, weald", forest, high wooded land; this term also came to mean "open upland ground", the waste ground remaining after the trees had been felled. The surname from this source is thought to be locational in origin, from a place named after one of the first owners of the land, hence, "Brown's wold". There are a number of variant forms of the surname, ranging from Brownswold, Brownsword and Brownsord to Brownsworth, Brownswood, and Brownswall. Among the recordings of the name in Church Registers is the christening of Gracia Brownswell at St. Peters in Sheffield, Yorkshire, on December 3rd 1570, and that of John, son of John and Margaret Brownsword, on April 20th 1664 at St. John the Evangelist, Friday Street, in London. A Coat of Arms granted to the Brownsword family is green, a sword in bend silver hilt and pommel gold, between two ducal coronets, gold, one chief of silver three red caltraps. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Alexander de Brownyswalde, bailie of Glasgow, which was dated 1430, in the "Ecclesiastical Records", Glasgow, during the reign of King James 1 of Scotland, 1406 - 1437. 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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