Recorded in a wide range of spellings including Colbran, Colborn, Colbourne, Colbourn, Colborne, Coalburn, Colebourn, Colebourne, Colburn and probably others, this is an Anglo-Scottish surname of Norse-Viking pre 7th century origins. It appears to be locational from some place called Coal Burn or similar, but apparently this is not the case. According to all the known records it derives from the Norse personal name "Kolbrandr" or the similar Swedish "Kolbrand", both composed of the elements "kol" meaning (char)coal or perhaps in a transferred sense black, plus the word "brand", to give a literal meaning of either burning log or burning sword. Ancient Anglo-Saxon and Scandanavian baptismal names were usually associated with the pagan gods of Fire, Water and War, and this name, in its varied forms, is a good example. In the famous Domesday Book of England in 1086, the names of Colbrand and Colebran are recorded in Devonshire and Warwickshire respectively. The surname first appears in the latter half of the 13th Century (see below), and Walter Colebrand was noted in the Ministers' Accounts of the Earldom of Cornwall, in 1297. Recordings from surviving church registers include the marriage of Henry Colbran and Anne Stacy on January 28th 1592, at St. Martin Pomeroy, in the city of London, and that of William Colbourn in the who was the vicar of Mottram in Logdendale, in 1695, whilst the christenings of George Thomas and William Alfred, twin sons of George and Mary Ann Coalbran, took place on May 22nd 1870, at St. Mary's, Portsea, Hampshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Malger Colebrond. This was dated 1275, in the "Hundred Rolls of Sussex", during the reign of King Edward 1st of England, 1272 - 1307.
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