Recorded in the spellings of Drage, Dragge, Draige, Drake, Drakes, and Drakers, this is one of the most famous of all English surnames and forever associated with Sir Francis Drake (1540 - 1596). He was one of the victors over the Spanish Armada in 1588, and the first known person to sail his ship around the world. The surname has nothing with feathered birds, it was originally a nickname for a "drago," a fierce warrior, one who breathed fire like a dragon, and used in medieval times for the army standard bearer. Whilst this was considered a plum job, it was also one often of short duration, as to kill the standard bearer and capture the Royal standard was the major ambition of all thrusting knights. It is said that the origination is from the pre 7th century Norse-Viking word "draki" or the later English "draca or draga", meaning a "dragon." Early examples of the surname recording include: Robert Drake of Winton, Hampshire, in 1148, Wigmund le Darke of Dorset, in 1205, and John Dragge of Somerset in 1328. The first recorded spelling of the family name is believed to be that of Leuing Drache. This was dated 1086, in the Domesday Book of the county of Hampshire, during the reign of King William 1st, known as "The Conqueror", 1066 - 1087. Surnames became necessary when governments introduced personal taxation. In England this was sometimes 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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