A common surname throughout Britain, coming from the Old English for the colour, rendered as Brun in German and Le Brun in French. In Scotland the name appears as Broun or Brun, first recorded in the 12th century, although today is more usually seen as Brown.

The Brouns of Colstoun have held lands in East Lothian since the 14th C. Another Brown family held Carsluith Castle (Dumfries and Galloway) until 1748. The mother of poet Robert Burns (1759-96) was Agnes Broun (1732 - 1820), who died in East Lothian. Other noted family members are Orcadian author George Mackay Brown (1921-96), scientists Alexander Crum Brown (1838 - 1922) and Robert Brown (1773 - 1858), aviator Sir Arthur Witten Brown (1886 - 1948) and politicians George Brown (1818-80) and Gordon Brown (b.1951).

The 'Broons' were a popular cartoon family appearing in the publications of D.C. Thomson (1861 - 1954).

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