The surname of NUTBROWN was of the nickname group of surnames meaning one who had dark hair. The name was derived from Old English NUTEBRUNE, and was also occasionally used as a personal name. The earliest on record is William Nuttebrun, who was documented in Yorkshire in 1185, and Richard Nutebrun appears in County Sussex in the year 1296. Surnames having a derivation from nicknames form the broadest and most miscellaneous class of surnames, encompassing many different types of origin. The most typical classes refer adjectivally to the general physical aspect of the person concerned, or to his character. Many nicknames refer to a man's size or height, while others make reference to a favoured article of clothing or style of dress. Hugo Nutterbroune of Yorkshire, was listed in the Yorkshire, Poll Tax of 1379, and William Notbrone is in record in County York in 1441. Before the 1066 Conquest names were rare in England, the few examples found were mainly adopted by those of the clergy or one who had taken holy orders. In 1086 the conquering Duke William of Normandy commanded the Domesday Book. He wanted to know what he had and who held it, and the Book describes Old English society under its new management in minute detail. It was then that surnames began to be taken for the purposes of tax-assessment. The nobles and the upper classes were first to realise the prestige of a second name, but it was not until the 15th century that most people had acquired a second name. Later instances of the name mention Anthony de Sancto Oelia and Elizabeth Nutbrown, who were married in London in 1550 (no church recorded) and Thomas Nutbtrowne wed Jone Wright at St. Peter, Cornhill, London in 1576. The associated coat of arms is recorded in Sir Bernard Burkes General Armory. Ulster King of Arms in 1884. Registered at Barking, County Essex, granted in the year 1588. The lion depicted in the arms is the noblest of all wild beasts which is made to be the emblem of strength and valour, and is on that account the most frequently borne in Coat-Armour. The name is also spelt Nuttbrowne and Nutbrowne.
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