A widespread name for a fairy or supernatural creature, they were small in appearance and wore brown coloured clothing.
Like many mischievous spirits they were thought to be attached to houses or families and could be helpful in menial household tasks. If offended they became malignant and mischievous, creating poltergeist activity and generally making a nuisance of themselves.
To get rid of brownies all you had to do is leave them a new cloak and hood, they would take it and never be seen again.
The brownies were found in both England and Scotland as far as the Shetland Isles.