The surname of BROWN is a very common name in Scotland. It was derived from the Old English name BRUN - an ancient personal name. A family so called were the possessors of several estates in Cumberland shortly after the Norman Conquest of 1066. Gamel, son of Brun came into possession of Bothel, (now Bootle) in the time of Henry I (1100-1135). Other records mention Gilchrist, son of Brun who witnessed a charter to the Hospital of St. Peter of York in 1136. Patrick Broun was burgess of Edinburgh in 1405. Donald Broune was rector of Lochow in 1539. The first people in Scotland to acquire fixed surnames were the nobles and great landowners, who called themselves, or were called by others, after the lands they possessed. Surnames originating in this way are known as territorial. Formerly lords of baronies and regalities and farmers were inclined to magnify their importance and to sign letters and documents with the names of their baronies and farms instead of their Christian names and surnames. The abuse of this style of speech and writing was carried so far that an Act was passed in the Scots parliament in 1672 forbidding the practice and declaring that it was allowed only to noblemen and bishops to subscribe by their titles. This surname was borne by the Dukes of Saxony (in the form of Bruno) among others in the 10th century. It was also the name of several medieval German and Italian Saints, including the founder of the Carthusian order (1030-1101) who was born in Cologne. Surnames before the Norman Conquest of 1066 were rare in England having been brought by the Normans when William the Conqueror invaded the shores. The practice spread to Scotland and Ireland by the 12th century, and in Wales they appeared as late as the 16th century. Most surnames can be traced to one of four sources, locational, from the occupation of the original bearer, nicknames or simply font names based on the first name of the parent being given as the second name to their child. It has long been a matter of doubt when the bearing of coats of arms first became hereditary and it was not until the Crusades that Heraldry came into general use. Men went into battle heavily armed and were difficult to recognise. It became the custom for them to adorn their helmets with distinctive crests, and to paint their shields with animals and the like. Coats of arms accompanied the development of surnames, becoming hereditary in the same way.
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