Transferred use of the Scottish surname, now used as a given name throughout the English-speaking world. In the 20th century it was particularly popular in Australia. The surname was originally a Norman baronial name, but a precise identification of the place from which it was derived has not been made (there are a large number of possible candidates). The Bruces were an influential Norman family in Scottish affairs in the early Middle Ages; its most famous member was Robert ‘the Bruce’ (1274–1329), who is said to have drawn inspiration after his defeat at Methven from the perseverance of a spider in repeatedly climbing up again after being knocked down. He ruled Scotland as King Robert I from 1306 to 1329.
English: habitational name from places in Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire called Winthorpe. The former is named with the Old English personal name or byname Wine, meaning ‘friend’, + Old Norse þorp ‘settlement’. In the latter the first element is a contracted form of the Old English personal name Wigmund, composed of the elements wīg ‘war’ + mund ‘protection’, or the Old Norse equivalent, Vígmundr.