Bethwait History, Family Crest & Coats of Arms
Among the the peoples of ancient Scotland, the first to use the name Bethwait were the Strathclyde-Britons. Bethwait was a name for someone who lived in any of the places so named in Cumberland or Yorkshire, bordering on Scotland. This place-name derived from the Old Norse words for a broad clearing. 
Early Origins of the Bethwait family
The surname Bethwait was first found in Cumberland, at Braithwaite, a township, in the parish of Crosthwaite, Allerdale ward above Derwent. Braithwaite is also a hamlet, in the parish of KirkBramwith, union of Doncaster, Upper division of the wapentake of Osgoldcross in the West Riding of Yorkshire. 
"Braithwaite is a characteristic north of England name, occurring in Westmorland, Cumberland, Yorkshire, and Lancashire. A Cumberland parish and West Riding hamlets are thus called. An ancient Westmorland family of Brathwaite or Braithwaite resided at Ambleside, near Kendal, in the 16th and 17th centuries, and afterwards at Warcop and Burneside. " 
The Hundredorum Rolls of 1273 had only one listing for the family, that being in Yorkshire: Geoffrey de Braytweyt. But by the Yorkshire Poll Tax Rolls of 1379, there were more listings: Alicia Brathwayt; Willelmus de Brathwat; and Willelmus de Brathwayt. 
Further to the north in Scotland, "the name is found in Edinburgh in the seventeenth century as Breathit and Breathwit." 
Early History of the Bethwait family
This web page shows only a small excerpt of our Bethwait research. Another 205 words (15 lines of text) covering the years 1185, 1185, 1744, 1750, 1746, 1791, 1820, 1825, 1711, 1684, 1750, 1588, 1673, 1660, 1633 and 1633 are included under the topic Early Bethwait History in all our PDF Extended History products and printed products wherever possible.
Bethwait Spelling Variations
Medieval Scottish names are rife with spelling variations. This is due to the fact that scribes in that era spelled according to the sound of words, rather than any set of rules. Bethwait has been spelled Brathwaite, Brathwait, Braithwaite, Braithwait and many more.
Early Notables of the Bethwait family (pre 1700)
Notable amongst the family at this time was Richard Braithwaite or Brathwaite (1588-1673), an English poet best known for his 'Drunken Barnaby's Four Journeys.' He "belonged to a Westmorland family who variously spelt their name Brathwaite, Brathwait, Brathwayte, Braithwaite, Braythwait, and Braythwayte. The poet uses indifferently the first three of these forms. His great-grandfather, also Richard, the squire of Ambleside, had one son, Robert, who had two sons, Thomas and James, and five daughters. Thomas, the poet's...
Migration of the Bethwait family
Many Scots were left with few options other than to leave their homeland for the colonies across the Atlantic. Some of these families fought to defend their newfound freedom in the American War of Independence. Others went north to Canada as United Empire Loyalists. The ancestors of all of these families have recently been able to rediscover their roots through Clan societies and other Scottish organizations. Among them: William Braithwaite who settled in Maryland in 1775; Susan Braithwaite with her husband Francis arrived in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania with four children in 1822.