Recorded as Drew, Drews and Drewson, this interesting English and possibly Gaelic 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. It may perhaps be a nickname from the old French "dru", favourite, lover (from the Old High German element "drut", meaning dear, beloved). Also it may be habitational from a number of places in France called Dreux, or from places which get their names from Old French "rieux", streams. It could also be an aphetic variation of Andrew. Drew could also be an Anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac an Druaidh", "O' Druaidh", meaning "son of", or "male descendant of" the druid. The surname itself first appears in the late 12th Century. William Dryw was listed in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcester in 1275, John Drew was recorded in the Subsidy Rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1327, whilst John Drewson appears in the register of St James Church, Clerkenwell in 1616. A notable namebearer was Edward Drew (1542 - 1598), an M.P. for Lyme Regis in 1584, for Exeter 1586 and 1598, and London in 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", 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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