Show ContentsBerth History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms

The history of the Berth family name begins after the Norman Conquest of 1066. They lived in Brittany. The surname Berth is based upon the Old French word Bret, nominally Brito the nominative case of the word Breton which meant a Breton. "The Domesday Book abounds with Brito as a surname. No less than seven persons bearing it were tenants in chief in many counties." [1]

Early Origins of the Berth family

The surname Berth was first found in Somerset at Samford (Sampford) Brett, a village and civil parish which dates back to the Domesday Book of 1086 when it was listed simply as Sanford. [2] By 1306, the village was known as Saunford Bret. [3] This was the lordship of Hugo Brito, (Sir Richard le Breton or Richard de Brito), son of Simon le Bret or Simon Brito, one of the four knights who murdered Saint Thomas Becket (Thomas à Becket) in 1170.

Walter Brit, Brytte or Brithus (fl. 1390), "was a fellow of Merton College, Oxford, and the reputed author of several works on astronomy and mathematics, as well as of a treatise on surgery. "

"Brit is no doubt identical with the Walter Brute, a layman of the diocese of Hereford, whose trial before Bishop John Trevenant of Hereford in 1391 is related at great length by Foxe (Acts and Monuments, i. 620-54, 8th ed. 1641). Foxe prints the articles of heresy with which Brute was charged, the speech in which he defended himself, and his ultimate submission of his opinions to the determination of the church. " [4]

Over in Dorset in the parish of Holwell, another branch of the family was found. "Here stood the principal lodge of the ancient forest of Blackmore, which William de Bret and his successors held by service as the king's forester in Blackmore; the office became extinct when the district was disafforested." [5]

Early History of the Berth family

This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Berth research. Another 39 words (3 lines of text) covering the years 1300, 1677, 1653, 1560, 1637, 1587, 1674, 1640, 1644, 1667, 1743, 1724, 1309 and 1317 are included under the topic Early Berth History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Berth Spelling Variations

Anglo-Norman names are characterized by a multitude of spelling variations. When the Normans became the ruling people of England in the 11th century, they introduced a new language into a society where the main languages of Old and later Middle English had no definite spelling rules. These languages were more often spoken than written, so they blended freely with one another. Contributing to this mixing of tongues was the fact that medieval scribes spelled words according to sound, ensuring that a person's name would appear differently in nearly every document in which it was recorded. The name has been spelled Brett, Britt, Bret, Brit and others.

Early Notables of the Berth family (pre 1700)

Notable of this family during the Middle Ages was Hugo Britt or Brett of Samford; Arthur Brett (d. 1677?), an English poet. He is believed to have been " 'descended of a genteel family.' Having been a scholar of Westminster, he was elected to a studentship at Christ Church, Oxford, in 1653. [4] Richard Brett (1560?-1637), was a learned divine who was descended from a family which had been settled at Whitestanton, Somersetshire, in the time of Henry I. Henry Brett (c.1587-1674), was an English politician who sat...
Another 86 words (6 lines of text) are included under the topic Early Berth Notables in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Ireland Migration of the Berth family to Ireland

Some of the Berth family moved to Ireland, but this topic is not covered in this excerpt.
Another 34 words (2 lines of text) about their life in Ireland is included in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.

Migration of the Berth family

For many English families, the political and religious disarray that plagued their homeland made the frontiers of the New World an attractive prospect. Thousands migrated, aboard cramped disease-ridden ships. They arrived sick, poor, and hungry, but were welcomed in many cases with far greater opportunity than at home in England. Many of these hardy settlers went on to make important contributions to the emerging nations in which they landed. Among early immigrants bearing the name Berth or a variant listed above were: James Brett, who settled in Barbados in 1635; Isabel Brett settled in Salem, Massachusetts in 1630; Emma Brett settled in Virginia in 1655; Alex Brett settled in Virginia in 1638..

  1. Lower, Mark Anthony, Patronymica Britannica, A Dictionary of Family Names of the United Kingdom. London: John Russel Smith, 1860. Print.
  2. Williams, Dr Ann. And G.H. Martin, Eds., Domesday Book A Complete Translation. London: Penguin, 1992. Print. (ISBN 0-141-00523-8)
  3. Mills, A.D., Dictionary of English Place-Names. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991. Print. (ISBN 0-19-869156-4)
  4. Smith, George (ed), Dictionary of National Biography. London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1885-1900. Print
  5. Lewis, Samuel, A Topographical Dictionary of England. Institute of Historical Research, 1848, Print. on Facebook