Recorded in several spellings including Fairbrace, Firebrace, Fairbrass and Farbrace, this surname is usually English. However it derives from a pre 10th century Old French nickname for a man with an "iron arm". This denoted a person who was patriculary firm or autocratic in his dealings with others. The origination is from the words "fer" meaning bold and fierce, and "bras", an arm. It may also have been a nickname for a fierce warrior or perhaps even one who wore armour, at a time when few copuld afford to so do.The surname itself first appears in the English records in the late 12th Century (see below), and other early recordings include: John Fierbrace, in the Pipe Rolls of Essex in 1196; Robert Ferbraz, who was mentioned in the Calendar of the Patent Rolls of Berkshire in 1221; whilst the Calendar of Letter Books of the City of London list a Walter Firbras in 1280. Recordings in surviving early London church registers include the christening of John, son of John and Sarah Firebrace, on April 1643, at St. Botolph without Aldgate, whilst John Firebrass, and his wife, were small landowners in the town of St. Michael's, in the island of Barbadoes, in 1680. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of John Fierebrache. This was dated 1190, in the "Pipe Rolls of Oxfordshire", during the reign of King Richard 1, known as "The Lionheart", 1189 - 1199. Throughout the centuries, surnames in every country have continued to "develop" often leading to astonishing variants of the original spelling.
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