This interesting surname is either of Norman or Anglo-Saxon origin. If the former it is a locational name from Briouse in Orne, in Normandy which probably gets its name from a Gaulish word meaning muddy, or the Old French "breuil" marshy woodland. Locational names were originally given as a means of identification to those who left their village or place of origin to settle elsewhere. It may also be an occupational name for someone who worked in a brewery, from the Middle English "brewhus" meaning brewery a development of the Olde English pre 7th Century elements "breow(an)" to brew and "hus" a house or building. The surname first appears in France in the latter half of the 11th Century (see below). William de Braiose is noted in the Domesday Book of Sussex (1086) and Reginald de Breuis appears in the Curia Rolls of Sussex (1279). The surname may also be found in the variant spellings Brewse, Browse and Bruce. In May 1629, John, son of John and Joane Brewis, was christened at the church of St. Botolph without Aldgate, London, and Valentine Brewis married Mary Green on October 22nd 1700 at the Church of St. Peter-le-Poer, London. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William de Briouze, which was dated 1080, in the "Calendar of Documents preserved in France", during the reign of King Philip 1st of France, 1060-1108. 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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