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Here is an e-mail from Frank Brierton (in New Zealand). He's got some great information about the Brereton/Brierton family tree:

Hi Bruce

Excellent website. Well done!

I've been researching the Brereton/Brierton family tree for over 30 years and have a vast amount of info "on file" but apart from my direct ancestors have not yet had time to fully type up and create a database for all the other stuff I have available - guess it will have to wait until I have time (hopefully) in my retirement!

I'm a frequent visitor to your site and often reply directly to email enquirers when I think I can help them. It just occurred to me that it may be a good idea for me to post some of this info on site to save me repeating it.

I'm descended from one of the Irish branches and as quite a few people researching this family have Irish connections I thought it appropriate to present some background on the origins of the Brereton family in Ireland.

Although the BRERETON spelling now appears to be the most commonly accepted usage, as you are aware, it has varied over the last 900 years. My own variation - BRIERTON - goes back a long way in Cheshire and early English records but oddly enough also appears to be quite widely used (relatively speaking) in Ireland, alongside BRYARTON and BRIARTON as well as BRERETON and other variations. Like most families I find ancestors with a variety of spellings, including all the above, so for those with Irish ancestry the following should be of interest.

Brereton's in Ireland
from "Irish Surnames" by Maclysaght

On account of the prominence of the Parliamentary general Sir William Brereton and of Major Brereton one of the disbanded officers of Col. Sadlier's regiment who settled in Co. Tipperary, Brereton is often regarded as a Cromwellian name in Ireland.

Actually there were families of the name from Brereton in Cheshire established in Ireland nearly a century before the Cromwellian Settlement. The most notable of these were in Co. Down and Queens County (Leix). In the former they were located at Lecale before 1530, and one Ralph Brereton was sheriff of Co. Down in 1591. The founder of the fortunes of this family in Ireland was Sir William Brereton whose vigorous action enabled Lord Deputy Skeffington to crush the rebellion of "Silken Thomas" in 1535; four years later as Lord High Marshal he opposed Con O'Neill. His son and two of his nephews held high office and received large grants of land.

According to family tradition the Brereton's of Queens County came from England at the time of the attempted plantation of Leix and Offaly under Philip and Mary; in fact the Loughteeog property was acquired by Sir William's grandson Edward in 1563. Grants in that county are recorded at various dates from 1563 to 1594. His youngest son John Brereton was constable of the castle of Wexford and seneschal of the county; he received a grant of land there under Edward VI, but the connection with that county does not appear to have lasted long: the census of 1659 includes a number of tituladoes called Brereton in Queens County and elsewhere, but none in Co. Wexford, nor does the Civil Survey of Co. Wexford contain the name among English Protestant or Irish Papist proprietors.

The principal Leix properties were Loughteeog and Shanemullen, and the families who owned them retained their influential position until quite recent times. Carew includes the Loughteeog family in his list of the principal gentry of Queen's County in 1600: one was MP for Ballinakill in 1613; and Father Edmund Hogan, editor of the MS known as the "Description of Ireland in 1598", states that the Shanemullen family were in Co. Carlow when he wrote in 1878. They are not listed in Co. Carlow in de Burgh's Landowners of that date, though that work includes them as extensive landlords in Co. Tipperary.

Other families from the Queen's Co. settlers remained staunch catholics throughout the penal times. The Fiants likewise indicate that the Brereton's of the 16th century, several of whom received pardons like their Gaelic neighbours, were not by any means all devoted to the English interest; and in the vital test of 1689-90 John Brereton of Loughteeog was found on the Jacobite side and was outlawed for "high treason" by William of Orange.

= = = = = = = = = = = = = = =

Well Bruce, how's that to start?

It's really exciting now to see that a lot more info is becoming available through the internet. National Archives UK have an excellent site and have lots of freely available data. Also sites for US immigration through Ellis Island and Castle Garden provide lists of names, ships, dates etc for migrants to the US.

I have collated lists of Brereton/Brierton etc names from BDM civil registers from 1837-1900 for England & Wales and some for Ireland 1864-1900 and lots of other documents. Unfortunately, as mentioned I have not yet typed this all up yet in database form that could be transmitted on the net...but I'm working on it!

Hope you'll agree the above Irish info is worth adding to your excellent site.


Frank Brierton (
New Zealand


For information concerning this site:
  -Email: Bruce Brereton or
Bruce Brereton, PO Box 132 Garfield, WA 99130