|About Bray - Loft Family
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BRAY THE CORNISH BRAYS There are four small habitations in Cornwall called Bray, (or Brea which is the same name), which were well established by the medieval period when family names were becoming common, these are difficult to find on modern maps. All four of these are beside prominent hills, two of which are called Carn Brea. These locations may have been used as surnames by individuals in early times and some could have, and probably did, result in hereditary family names. A study of Cornish baptismal records from the beginning of registers up to 1800 show a large number of Brays in the parish of Gwennap and surrounding villages, some 36% of all Brays in Cornwall, and thus we can say with confidence that this area is definitely one of the sources for our name. This is located very near the towns of Camborne and Redruth. There is a large hill called Carn Brea (with a castle on the top) beside Camborne and there are small hamlets called Carn Brea Village, Brea and Higher Brea beside this hill. This was known as the richest copper and tin mining area in Cornwall stretching back to ancient times. The Gwennap church is quite large and dates back to the 12th century which is around the time family names were being adopted. There is also a place in North Devon called High Bray with a River Bray running through the area, this was well established by this period and is mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086. The Lord of this place is referred to in the Book as Alnoth of Brai, (Alnod) and this location could have also been used as a family name. One of the most well known Cornish Brays was an ex miner and a charismatic preacher, William (known as Billy) Bray (1794-1868) who established a number of Methodist chapels and thus William became one of the most popular Bray first names in the 1800s. LOFT The ancient history of the Loft name begins with the ancient Anglo-Saxon tribes of Britain. The name is derived from when the family resided in the village of Lofthouse during the reign of King Alfred in 900 AD. This place-name was originally derived from the Old Norse words lopt meaning loft and hus meaning house. Therefore the original bearers of the Loft surname were dwellers of the loft house. The surname Loft was first found in North Yorkshire at Lofthouse, a small village in Nidderdale in the Harrogate district or at Lofthouse, a village in West Yorkshire. "This place, in the Domesday Survey Lochtushum, was granted by the Conqueror to Hugh Lupus, Earl of Chester, who soon afterwards transferred it to the Percy family, of whom William de Percy, the third Baron, in 1133 founded at Handall, in the parish, a priory for Benedictine nuns, which he dedicated to the Virgin Mary.