The Ancient History of the
The ancient chronicles of England reveal the early records
of the name Brereton as a Norman surname which ranks as one
of the oldest. The history of the name is closely interwoven
within the majestic tapestry as an intrinsic part of the history
In-depth research by skilled analysts into ancient manuscripts
such as the Domesday Book, (compiled in 1086 by William the
Conqueror), the Ragman Rolls, the Wace poem, the Honour Roll
of the Battle Abbey, The Curia Regis, Pipe Rolls, the Falaise
Roll, tax records, baptismals, family genealogists, local
parish and church records, shows the first record of the name
Brereton was found in Cheshire where they were seated from
very early times and were granted lands by Duke William of
Normandy, their liege Lord, for their distinguished assistance
at the Battle of Hastings in 1066 A.D.
Many alternate spellings were found in the archives research,
typically linked to a common root, usually one of the Norman
nobles at the Battle of Hastings. Although our name, Brereton,
appeared in many references, from time to time the surname
included Brereton, Breereton, Breeretoun, Breeretoune, Breriton,
Brerton, and these changes in spelling frequently occurred,
even between father and son. Scribes recorded and spelled
the name as it sounded. Typically a person would be born with
one spelling, married with another, and buried with a headstone
which showed another. All three spellings related to the same
person. Sometimes preferences for different spelling variations
either resulted from a branch preference, religious affiliation,
or sometimes nationalistic statements.
The family name Brereton is believed to be descended originally
from the Norman race, frequently but mistakenly assumed to
be of French origin. They were more accurately of Viking origin.
The Vikings landed in the Orkneys and Northern Scotland about
the year 870 A.D., under their King, Stirgud the Stout. Thorfinn
Rollo, his descendent, landed in northern France about the
year 910 A.D. The French King, Charles the Simple, after Rollo
laid siege to Paris, finally conceded defeat and granted northern
France to Rollo. Rollo became the first Duke of Normandy,
the territory of the north men. Rollo married Charles' daughter
and became a convert to Christianity.
Duke William took a census of most of England in 1086, and
recorded it in the Domesday Book. A family name capable of
being traced back to the manuscript, or to Hastings, was a
signal honour for most families during the middle ages, and
even to this day.
The surname Brereton emerged as a notable family name in the
county of Cheshire where they arrived in the train of Hugh
Lupys, one of the greatest of all Norman Nobles, to whom they
were apparently related. They established many manors and
estates in Cheshire including Brereton, Malpas, Eccleston,
Wetenhall, Tatton, Honford, Barrow, in that shire, and Borasham
and Burras in neighbouring Denbighland. The place named Brereton
is in Staffordshire, Many of the branches were headed by titled
members of the family, such as Sir William Brereton, Sir Thomas
Brereton, Sir Andrew Brereton, Sir Robert Brereton, Sir William
Brereton, and so on. Proving that this family was indeed one
of the most distinguished of all Cheshire families. Prominent
amongst the family at this time was Lord Brereton of Carlaw.
The surname Brereton contributed much to local politics and
in the affairs of England or Scotland. During the 11th and
12th centuries many of these Norman families moved north to
Scotland. Later, in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries England
was ravaged by religious and political conflict. The Monarchy,
the Church and Parliament fought for supremacy. Religious
elements vied for control, the State Church, the Roman Church
and the Reform Church. All, in their time, made demands on
rich and poor alike. They broke the spirit of men and many
turned from religion, or alternatively, renewed their faith,
pursuing with vigour and ferocity, the letter of the ecclesiastical
law. Many families were freely ''encouraged'' to migrate to
Ireland, or to the colonies. Nonbelievers or dissidents were
banished, sometimes even hanged.
The settlers in Ireland became known as the ''Adventurers
for land in Ireland''. They undertook to keep the Protestant
faith. In Ireland they settled in the county of Carlaw, and
the name now, quite Irish, is largely found in the county
The democratic attitudes of the New World spread like wildfire.
Many migrated aboard the fleet of sailing ships known as the
''White Sails''. The stormy Atlantic, small pox, dysentry,
cholera and typhoid took its toll on the settlers and many
of these tiny, overcrowded ships arrived with only 60 or 70%
of their passenger list. The migration or banishment to the
New World continued, some voluntarily from Ireland, but mostly
directly from England or Scotland, their home territories.
Some clans and families even moved to the European continent.
In North America, migrants which could be considered a kinsman
of the family name Brereton, or variable spellings of that
same family name included John Brereton who settled in the
Barbados in 1654; John Brereton settled in Maine in 1602;
eighteen years before the ''Mayflower'' and was one of the
pioneers of the Maine rivers; Thomas Breriton settled in Virginia
in 1773; Samuel Brerton settled in Alexandria Virginia in
1818. From the port of arrival many settlers joined the wagon
trains westward. During the American War of Independence some
declared their loyalty to the Crown and moved northwards into
Canada and became known as the United Empire Loyalists.
In the processs of researching this distinguished family name
we also traced the most
ancient grant of Arms from the branches which developed their
The most ancient grant of a Coat of Arms found was:
Silver with two black horizontal bars.
The Crest was:
A bears head emerging from a crown.
The ancient family Motto for this distinguished name was: