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An excerpt from www.HouseOfNames.com archives copyright 2000 - 2014

Where did the English Bruton family come from? What is the English Bruton family crest and coat of arms? When did the Bruton family first arrive in the United States? Where did the various branches of the family go? What is the Bruton family history?

The illustrious surname Bruton is classified as a habitation surname, which was originally derived from a place-name, and is one form of surname belonging to a broader group called hereditary surnames. Habitation names were derived from pre-existing names for towns, villages, parishes, or farmsteads. Topographic names, form the other broad category of surnames that was given to a person who resided near a physical feature such as a hill, stream, church, or type of tree.

Other local names are derived from the names of houses, manors, estates, regions, and entire counties. As a general rule, the greater the distance between an individual and their homeland, the larger the territory they were named after. For example, a person who only moved to another parish would be known by the name of their original village, while people who migrated to a different country were often known by the name of a region or country from which they came. Bruton is a place-name from in Breton. Bruton is a southern English corruption of the name Breton, which denoted a person who came from Brittany, in France. This type of name is called a local surname, which comes from the broad category of hereditary surnames. Local names were usually adopted from the name of the place where an ancestor had once lived. The name came to England with the Norman Conquest in 1066; Alain de Breton was a noble who accompanied Duke William on his successful conquest of England. His sons, Roger and Thomas le Breton, were granted lordships in Somerset. Their name has become a permanent part of the county of Somerset; the village of Bruton derives its name from this family. The place-name Bruton further served as a source for the surnames of some of the people who lived there. In this way did occupants of a small town in southern England become named after a province of France.

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Since the Old and Middle English languages lacked definite spelling rules, Breton surnames have many spelling variations. Latin and French, which were the official court languages, were also influential on the spelling of surnames. The spelling of surnames was rarely consistent in medieval times, and scribes and church officials recorded names as they sounded rather than adhering to any specific spelling rules. Therefore, it was common to find the same individual referred to with different spellings of their surname in the ancient chronicles. Moreover, a large number of foreign names were brought into England after the Norman Conquest, which accelerated and accentuated the alterations to the spelling of various surnames. The name has been spelled Bruton, Breton, Brutyn, Brutten, Brutone, Brewton, Brutown, Brewtowne, Bretown and many more.

First found in Somerset and Devon where, in the latter county Auvrai le Breton held twenty two lordships granted to him by William the Conqueror for his service at Hastings in 1066 A.D. Roger and Thomas le Breton, his successors, were granted lordships in Somerset. Bruton was listed in the Domesday Book as Briwetone, [1] and literally meant "farmstead on the River Brue," the latter Celtic word meant "brisk." Combined it meant, "farmstead on the brisk running river." [2] The Hundred of Bruton is one of the 40 hundreds in Somerset and was a relatively small hundred, covering approximately 14,250 acres.


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This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bruton research. Another 449 words(32 lines of text) covering the years 106 and 1066 are included under the topic Early Bruton History in all our PDF Extended History products.

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More information is included under the topic Early Bruton Notables in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the Bruton family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt. Another 47 words(3 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products.

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Some of the first immigrants to cross the Atlantic and come to North America carried the name Bruton, or a variant listed above:

Bruton Settlers in the United States in the 17th Century


  • William Bruton, aged 22, arrived in St Christopher in 1634
  • William Bruton, his wife Mary, and his son Robert who settled in Barbados in 1635
  • Jon Bruton, who landed in Virginia in 1635
  • Edward Bruton, who arrived in Virginia in 1637
  • Sarah Bruton, who landed in Maryland in 1662


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  • Kris Marcus Bruton (b. 1971), American professional basketball player
  • David Lee Bruton Jr. (b. 1987), American NFL football safety for the Denver Broncos
  • Brigadier-General Philip Gilstrap Bruton (1891-1960), American Director of Labor War Food Administration (1943-1945)
  • Ogden Carr Bruton (1908-2003), American pediatrician and Chief of Pediatrics at Walter Reed Army Hospital, discoverer of "Bruton-type agammaglobulinemia"
  • Leslie Hector Ronald "Les" Bruton (1903-1989), English footballer
  • David "Dave" Bruton (b. 1952), English former professional footballer
  • John Gerard Bruton (b. 1947), Irish politician, Finance Minister (1981-1982) and Prime Minister of Ireland (1994-1997)
  • Edward George Bruton (d. 1861), British Gothic Revival architect


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  1. ^ Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  2. ^ Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)

Other References

  1. Le Patourel, John. The Norman Empire. New York: Oxford University Press, 1976. Print. (ISBN 0-19-822525-3).
  2. Marcharn, Frederick George. A Constitutional History of Modern England 1485 to the Present. London: Harper and Brothers, 1960. Print.
  3. Egle, William Henry. Pennsylvania Genealogies Scotch-Irish and German. Harrisburg: L.S. Hart, 1886. Print.
  4. Virkus, Frederick A. Ed. Immigrant Ancestors A List of 2,500 Immigrants to America Before 1750. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1964. Print.
  5. Best, Hugh. Debrett's Texas Peerage. New York: Coward-McCann, 1983. Print. (ISBN 069811244X).
  6. Library of Congress. American and English Genealogies in the Library of Congress. Baltimore: Genealogical Publishing, 1967. Print.
  7. Magnusson, Magnus. Chambers Biographical Dictionary 5th edition. Edinburgh: W & R Chambers, 1990. Print.
  8. Colletta, John P. They Came In Ships. Salt Lake City: Ancestry, 1993. Print.
  9. Elster, Robert J. International Who's Who. London: Europa/Routledge. Print.
  10. Bullock, L.G. Historical Map of England and Wales. Edinburgh: Bartholomew and Son, 1971. Print.
  11. ...

The Bruton Family Crest was acquired from the Houseofnames.com archives. The Bruton 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 5 June 2014 at 20:59.

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