This most interesting surname is of early medieval origin, and has a number of possible interpretations. Firstly, it may derive from a nickname, from the Middle English "burre", a bur, which was used by Shakespeare to describe "one who was difficult to shake off" or one who sticks like a "bur" (a seed-head that sticks to clothing). According to another source it may be of an earlier Anglo-Saxon origin, a topographical name for a dweller by a small building or dwelling, from the Olde English pre 7th Century "bur", a small dwelling. Finally, there is some likelihood that the name may be a variant of "Burke", a topographical name for a dweller by a fortified place or a prehistoric hill fort, from the Middle English "burc", "burk", a fort, fortified place. Samson Burre was recorded in 1206 in the Curia Rolls of Cambridgeshire. The name is well recorded in America, and indeed is one of the earliest English names to be represented there. Jehu Burr emigrated from England to the New World in 1630, and was an early relative of Aaron Burr (1756 - 1836), whose votes as a presidential candidate tied with Jefferson's in 1800. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Hugo Burre, which was dated 1185, in the "Records of the Templars in England", during the reign of King Henry 11, known as "The Builder of Churches", 1154 - 1189. 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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