Recorded as Dray, Draye, Dreye, Drew, Drewe, Drews, and Druce, this interesting surname has a number of possible origins. Firstly, it may derive from the Germanic personal name "Drogo" itself from the pre 7th century Saxon word "drog", meaning a ghost or phantom. This was the name borne by a son of the famous Emperor Charlemagne, and which became popular in France. It was introduced into Britain by the Norman invaders after 1066. Secondly it be a nickname from the old French word "dru", meaning favourite or lover, and again a word introduced into the British Isles after 1066. Thirdly it may be habitational from a number of places in France called Dreux. The name means a stream. Fourthly it could also be a medieval aphetic nickname variation of the surname and popular first name Andrew. Lastly it can be an anglicized form of the Gaelic "Mac an Druaidh". This surname means the son of the follower of the druid, although who the druid was, is not known. The surname itself first appears in the late 13th century with Hugh Dreye being recorded in the Hundred Rolls of Cambridge in 1273, William Dryw in the Subsidy Rolls of Worcester in 1275, and John Drew in the Subsidy Tax rolls of Cambridgeshire in 1327. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Ralph Dreu. This was dated 1188, in the Calendar of Abbot Samson of Bury St. Edmunds, during the reign of King Henry 11nd of England, (1154 - 1189). Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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