This interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may derive from the Germanic personal name "Drogo" (from the Old Saxon "(gi)drog", ghost, phantom), the name borne by a son of Charlemagne, which became popular in France and was introduced into Britain by the Normans after the Conquest of 1066. It may also be a nickname from the Old French "dru", favourite, lover (from the Old High German element "drut", meaning dear, beloved). It may also be habitational from a number of places in France called Dreux, or from places which derive their names from the Old French element "rieux", meaning streams. It could also be an aphetic variation of the personal name "Andrew", which is derived from the Greek "Andreas", a derivative of "Andreios", manly, itself from "aner", a genitive of "andros", meaning man, male; the Greek form of the name is thought to be a translation of a lost Aramaic name. Drew could also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac AnDruaidh, O' Druaidh", meaning "son of", or "male descendant of" the druid. The surname itself first appears in the late 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: William Dryw, listed in the 1275 Subsidy Rolls of Worcester, and John Drew, recorded in the 1327 Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire. A notable namebearer, recorded in the "Dictionary of National Biography", was Edward Drew (1542 - 1598), an M.P. for Lyme Regis (1584), Exeter (1586 and 1598), and London (1592). The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Dreu, which was dated 1188, in the "Calendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds", Suffolk, 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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