This is one of the most unusual names on the British Register. It is of Olde English origin and relates to a torture known as "Burnt hand", the surname being a nickname for the official who carried out the punishment or possibly the unfortunate recipient. This was certainly the case with Anna Burnand of Barnwell in Cambridgeshire who was so recorded in 1295. Brent, Brind and Brend are medieval forms of the original "Beornan" (pre 7th Century) meaning "to burn" and in this case the surname recordings include Walter Brennand of Nottingham (1277) and John Byrnand (1475) of Gildersome, Yorkshire. The first recorded spelling of the family name is shown to be that of Walter Brennehand, which was dated 1229, The Rolls of Whitby Abbey, Yorkshire, during the reign of King Henry III "The Frenchman", 1216 - 1272. 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.