This unusual surname, of Anglo-Saxon origin, with variant spellings Nutbrowne, Nuttbrown, Nuttbrowne and Nuttbrone, is a nickname for a person with a dark complexion, deriving from the Olde English pre 7th Century "hnutu" meaning nut plus "brun", brown. The creation of surnames from nicknames was a common practice in the Middle Ages, and many modern-day surnames derive from medieval nicknames referring to personal characteristics, as in this instance, "nutbrown". The surname dates back to the late 12th Century (see below). Further recordings include Richard Nutebrune (1296) in the Subsidy Rolls of Sussex. London Church Records show the marriage of Thomas Nutbrown to Joan Wright on January 27th 1576 at St. Peter's Cornhill. Elizabeth, daughter of Johis and Graciae Nutbrown, was christened on September 4th 1644 at St. Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster. One Francis Nutbrowne was an early emigrant to the American Colonies, leaving London on the "Defence" in July 1635, bound for New England. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of William Nuttebrun, which was dated 1185, in the "Records of the Templars in England in the 12th Century", 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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