An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright © 2000 - 2013
Origins Available: English, French, Irish
Where did the English Breton family come from? What is the English Breton family crest and coat of arms? When did the Breton family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Breton family history?Breton is a name whose history on English soil dates back to the wave of migration that followed the Norman Conquest of England of 1066. The Breton family lived in Essex. The name is a reference to the French province of Brettagne or Brittany. Families from this area largely consisted of the descendants of Celtic tribes who were originally forced to flee ancient Britain from the Roman Tyrant, Maximus, around 384 AD, and settled across the Channel. When the Romans left, the settlement remained, and carries the name to this day. From about 950 onwards, the Dukes of Brittany became closely related to the Dukes of Normandy, and even accompanied them at Hastings in 1066. Many of the Brettagne families who were granted land by William, Duke of Normandy had come in a complete circle, settling again on their former homeland in Powys, on the English- Welsh border.
A multitude of spelling variations characterize Norman surnames. Many variations occurred because Old and Middle English lacked any definite spelling rules. The introduction of Norman French to England also had a pronounced effect, as did the court languages of Latin and French. Therefore, one person was often referred to by several different spellings in a single lifetime. The various spellings include Breton, Britain, Britayne, Briton, Brittain, Brittaine, Brittan, Britten, Brittenie, Brittin, Britting, Britton, Brittone, Brettain, Bretaine, Bretayne, Brettin, Bretin, Brettan, Brettinie, Brettony, Brittany, Brettany, Britteny, Brittiny and many more.
First found in Essex where they had been granted lands by King William for their assistance at the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The name occurred many times throughout the Hundred Rolls of 1273: John de Brytaygn in Cambridgeshire; Giffard le Bretun in Buckinghamshire; Hugo le Bretun in Suffolk and more. The Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379 listed Alicia de Britten; Elias de Britton; and Ricardus Britton. 
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Breton research. Another 517 words(37 lines of text) covering the years 1066, 1164, 1273, 1296, 1545, and 1626 are included under the topic Early Breton History in all our PDF Extended History products.
Another 93 words(7 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Breton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.
Some of the Breton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 59 words(4 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.
Many English families left England, to avoid the chaos of their homeland and migrated to the many British colonies abroad. Although the conditions on the ships were extremely cramped, and some travelers arrived diseased, starving, and destitute, once in the colonies, many of the families prospered and made valuable contributions to the cultures of what would become the United States and Canada. Research into the origins of individual families in North America has revealed records of the immigration of a number of people bearing the name Breton or a variant listed above:
Breton Settlers in the United States in the 18th Century
Breton Settlers in the United States in the 19th Century
The motto was originally a war cry or slogan. Mottoes first began to be shown with arms in the 14th and 15th centuries, but were not in general use until the 17th century. Thus the oldest coats of arms generally do not include a motto. Mottoes seldom form part of the grant of arms: Under most heraldic authorities, a motto is an optional component of the coat of arms, and can be added to or changed at will; many families have chosen not to display a motto.
Motto: Cassis tutissima virtus
Motto Translation: Virtue is the safest helmet.
The Breton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Breton Family Crest was drawn according to heraldic standards based on published blazons. We generally include the oldest published family crest once associated with each surname.
This page was last modified on 27 July 2011 at 14:22.
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